Thursday, March 10, 2011

Award for Kindness

A photograph on facebook struck me. I saw it on the wall of my old friend from high school – we went to junior high school together over 20 years ago. The picture was his son with the teacher, holding a school award that written, “Certificate of Achievement for Caring/Kindness”

I commented on this, congratulating the boy and his parents who raised such a kind-hearted boy. What a very good idea from the teacher and the school. Instead of a gold star for every excellent work in homework, academic achievements or sports, they award children who do good deeds.

If only every school in the world give awards for kindness and good deeds. If then employers continue this tradition: using kindness as a measurement of achievement. Imagine a supervision session, or an appraisal at an office. The boss asked, “What good deed have you done in the past six months? How many times today have you made a customer smile?”

Imagine then all bonuses are based not on how much profit you made, but on how much you make a difference, on how many people’s lives became better because of your work. Imagine banks giving out their annual bonuses not to those who successfully gained huge accounts from the rich, but to employees who managed to support small businesses and help them thrive.

Imagine if politicians are competing against each other not to gain vote and a seat in the posh Parliament, but on how many small communities they made better off. Imagine that act of kindness and good deeds are considered the most profitable and beneficial for all. Passers-by would queue to buy a sandwich for a homeless person, and shopkeepers will smile beautifully while tending their happy customers.
I once asked for the manager in a small supermarket near my office. The manager looked like he was bracing for a complaint. I said to him, “Can I vote for your branch to be the best branch? I think you have an excellent team. Your staffs are friendly and very helpful. I think they all deserve a good bonus.” The surprised look on his face was funny and wonderful at the same time. I wish we have the courage to voice our commendation as often as – or even more often than – our complaints.

Back to my friend’s son with his achievement in kindness. If only we all learn from this tradition, schools give out gold stars for the good deeds their pupils do. Then when the pupils grow up as bosses, they will decide on bonuses based on kindness. Then because banks give out loans to people who wanted to make a difference, these clients will not have the heart to run away with the loan. Maybe if we share more kindness…. Then maybe, just maybe… We do not need to fight each other and be miserable.

Thank you Chris Peddijanto and his father Jeffry for reminding all their friends on facebook on the value of kindness.

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