Last Christmas, my brother and I received Mackesy’s precious book, ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’, which illustrates their life lessons, questions and curiosity in a series of drawings and quotes. One quote in particular stood out to me – “Nothing beats kindness, it sits quietly beyond all things.” Kindness is a universal language; the impact of just one kind word becomes contagious and ripples across society, however, at times it is overlooked.
I am blessed to be gifted with a family overflowing with kindness, and I trace this back to my late Nana Julia who generated kindness in her every step. In my toddler years, she would hop on the bus from Omagh and hold girly nights, pampering my two year-old-self from head to toe in body creams and big hugs. She would have often adjudicated many a dancing feis, making it her mission to never let a child leave without a medal. Amongst this, she magically managed to dedicate time volunteering in a local group called ‘Tara’, a support network designed to uplift anyone who came through its doors questioning their personal worth. I know that she’s watching our kindness very carefully. In fact, on my very first day at secondary school, I was grouped into a class which was given a name … ‘Tara’, and upon deeper research I realised it translates to star and a manifestation of compassion and kindness.
One kind word goes a long way, and can be best exemplified in three forms; towards the self, towards our loved ones, and towards our enemies. Firstly, Matthew touches upon Jesus’ additional commandment, “love your neighbour as yourself”, shedding an equal light on self-kindness and the kindness of others. This may be exemplified through attending confession and restoring reconciliation with God. Secondly, Pope Francis emphasised the importance of one kind word within the family circle, “Please, Thank you, and Sorry,” simple yet powerful words that “open up the road to a good family life.” Finally, although miraculous in nature, we can relate to the parables of Jesus when spreading our kindness beyond the barriers. For me, the parable of the Good Samaritan perfectly highlights how the foundations of kindness conquers all.
It is no coincidence that kindness originates in the Old English term ‘kyndnes’ meaning ‘nation’.
We are all part of God’s nation, connected through the commonality of kindness. Kindness is a universal language; it is our duty to become fluent just like my Nana.
Ava McGinn is a proud and privileged ambassador of Thornhill College as Head Girl, with future ambitions to study psychology.