Fiona 56, Atlanta, GA

What does it mean to be kind?

Patience. Compassion. Unconditional really. Non-judgmental. Softness. Consistency. Gentle. It should be non-reciprocal. You should never expect it back.

I once worked at a health food store in Philadelphia and there was a homeless man that one of the other workers in the store wanted to give to…. But he was giving with conditions, telling the man what he could and could not do with the money, like spend it on alcohol. I knew from having talked with the man that he had been sober for years. But that was beside the point. If you give, it should be without conditions.

Is it easy to be kind?

Easy? I don’t think so really. We try to be. I don’t think it is easy. We all come from judgment. It’s a conscious effort. Sometimes we fail. I think people find it easier to be kind to animals. When they are cruel to animals there is no hope. Kindness to animals in a way is a gateway to being kind to humans.

Is it easy for you to include people?

Yeah, I think so. Not so much in my work environment, but outside it my circles are diverse and wide, more inclusive.

What’s the kindest thing that’s happened to you lately?

When you are a teacher, there are always little things that happen. Parents say thank you. Often times I’m doing things that no one really sees. It’s always nice when someone acknowledges and shows appreciation.

Recently a student who wants me to be his mentor was exceptionally kind in what he wrote on the application form and I thought that was kind because the form really did not require that he write all of the complimentary things that he wrote, nonetheless, he did.