An anomaly of kindness

Anomaly: Deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form or rule.
Kindness: The state, quality or habit of being sympathetic, gentile, benevolent, etc.

There are a thousand different angles from which to view Monday's events at Virginia Tech. We have in spades discussions on gun control, school safety, mental health and so on. One discussion infinitely worth having is with our children ... and, in some cases, ourselves:
• On this planet we touch hundreds of lives and they touch us back.
• At any given moment, there is a would-be mass-murdering youth wandering around a school, a neighborhood or a mall.
• We are not responsible for the violent actions of others.
• We are responsible for our own actions.
• What we do matters.

Killers like the one on that campus clearly have illnesses too deep to be undone by one act of kindness. But let's think this through for a minute.

A deranged person who fancies himself or herself the eternal victim spends a lifetime compiling "evidence" of their mistreatment. This evidence festers in the mind of an isolated person until it becomes justification for "punishment" of all kind. But what if we were to poke so many holes in their theory that they had no choice but to abandon it?

It's what scientists call an anomaly -- an abnormality in a compilation of otherwise similar observations. "Everyone ignores me ... except that one girl." "Everyone laughs when I talk ... except that one guy."

What if we had the presence of mind and social consciousness to be kind every day? What if we made eye contact and smiled at others even when it didn't benefit us directly? What if my brief greeting joined your quick inquiry to form evidence of kindness?

We can't make choices for other people, and ultimately can't blame violence on anyone but the perpetrator. But our "habit of being sympathetic, gentile, benevolent" can be the wrench that hurls itself into someone's misguided plans. You and I and our children can be that rare example of kindness to a loveless soul -- that pesky anomaly that disproves the hypothesis of hate.

Just think of it as one good apple spoiling an otherwise completely rotten barrel.


Ibid said...

I try to do this, but apparently I come off as being too flirtatious.

girlfriday said...

It's good, sis. Especially to someone like me who gets bent out of shape with bad customer service. I have got to remember that I just don't know what's going on inside of them.

Remember Dallas' post on Blognostic a few months ago? About the suicide note they found from the man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge? "If one person smiles at me on my way, I won't jump."

Everyday Anne said...

Such a simple concept but difficult one as we have witnessed by watching news, listening to radio, and walking down the street.