I believe that kindness is powerful because it connects us all as human beings. My belief in that power means that I see it in all sorts of settings.
One of those settings is within communities.
Dictionaries usually define a community as a group of people with something in common. This could be the place where they live, the characteristics they have or a hobby they take part in. These shared experiences or interests provide a starting point for connecting with other members of the group.
Kindness is about doing something to brighten someone else’s day. So it’s easy to see how something that connects us can be a good start for being kind. And I have found that I don’t need to look very far to see examples of community kindness.
Here are my suggestions for how to spot it.
During the early stages of the covid pandemic, a WhatsApp group was set up to connect people on the road where I live. Volunteers helped each other in a whole range of ways, from prescription collection to buying shopping and stopping for a friendly, socially-distanced hello.
This approach to support in communities was replicated across our towns and boroughs, across the nation and across the world.
And in many of those places, including the road where I live, those bonds and connections are still going strong. Over the last few years we have had many people move in and out of our road – the newcomers are always welcomed, added to the group and become part of the community of our place.
Help with hobbies
In shared interest groups, individuals show each other kindness too. A friend recently told me about the support she and her children get at their karate lessons, with more experienced students taking time to give them tips.
Busy parents help each other out by giving children lifts to football fixtures and swimming lessons. Friends host card games when the church hall venue falls through, squeezing extra chairs round the dining table so that no-one misses out.
And if you search on the internet for ‘how to crochet’, you will be inundated with video tutorials of people wanting to share their crafting skills. (This is something I will be making use of this year as learning to crochet is one of the things I want to do during 2024!)
Giving back through volunteering
I’m sure you also know amazing, kind people who are volunteering their time and knowledge for their community. They are running community cafes, school holiday activities for children, food collection points, to name just a few. In my experience they often describe what they are doing as giving something back and they find that it makes them feel good too.
With increasing pressures such as the cost of living crisis and ever-growing to-do lists, it is easy to worry that our sense of community is disappearing again. But it seems to me that the evidence suggests otherwise.
- People are still helping each other out.
- People are still collecting shopping for neighbours.
- People are still donating their skills, time and unwanted items.
The kindness of communities is still very much going on all around us. It has evolved since the days of the pandemic when so many of us pulled together out of necessity, but it is there.
Holding on to our shared connections as humans gives us kindness to see us through darker days as well as light.
Need help? Get in touch if you would like help with spotting kindness in your community. I can run my kindness workshops for community groups and help you build an action plan together. Or I can deliver an inspiring talk about kindness at your community event.