World Kindness Day was established in 1998, by a coalition of non- governmental organisations, in several countries. World Kindness Day is observed on the 13th November in Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
After the abolition of the Slave Trade, William Wilberforce is said to have set out to make kindness and courtesy and integral part of the British national character. Wilberforce was good-looking and influential and made his campaign successful to a considerable degree in Victorian Britain.
On a personal note, my own father towards the latter end of his life suffered ill health. He had a long and successful career as a Civil Servant. He was however inclined to still help the widowed wife of a friend or an acquaintance, or give fatherly assistance or guidance to an orphaned young person he knew needed his support. This was in spite of the enormous challenges he had with his own health. He often said to my mum, “I do these things because our children may one day need the help of someone in some part of the world, where you and I may never get to.”
My mum taught a kindergarten class, for many years in a school in Nigeria, ran by Catholic nuns. A parent of one of the children she taught was overwhelmed by my mother’s kindness and motherly patience with her children. Through a conversation she had with my mum, she got to know that I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting and radio journalism. This woman with great generosity of spirit helped me achieve my dreams of working with Nigeria’s foremost broadcasting radio station, in my gap year. The result of that one year experience inspired me to write my first book “The Triumph of the Water Lily” This book was later used as a university entrance exam text by a Nigerian joint admission and Matriculation Board.
Kindness is the thing that makes us celebrate exceptional individuals in this life. The kindness we show to people keeps speaking about us long after we have died and gone. We see examples of this in the lives of individuals such as Dr Barnardos, William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa of Calcutta to name a few.
There is also a wise saying that we reign in life as triumphant heroes to the degree or extent to which we touch the lives of other people, with grace and kindness.
That is why it is often said that good teachers are remembered not because of what they taught you, but because of the way they made you feel. The kind acts we extend to other people invariably blesses us or those we love, is very often in our distant future.
I remember a young woman who recounted how a Caribbean woman had helped her survive the overwhelming grief she experienced when her husband died on their honeymoon on a Caribbean island far, far away from her home and her parents in the US. Her beloved husband had gone out to swim in the open seas and was washed away by a strong overpowering tidal wave.
Many good people tried but were unable to save his life. This young woman’s parents tried to travel out to the Caribbean to be with their grief stricken daughter but were unable to do so, due to the fact that all flights out of the USA had been cancelled, owing to problems the airlines were having because of volcanic ash in Italy. This motherly Caribbean woman a chambermaid, heard heart rendering sobs coming from the room next to where she was cleaning . She left her work and went next door to try and see if she could help the person who was crying. The young American woman told the elderly Caribbean woman what had happened to her. The woman gathered the grief stricken young woman in her bosom and literally saved her sanity and stopped her from being annihilated by grief.
There is also the remarkable account of a young medical student in America who sold insurance premium from door-to-door to help pay for his fees.
One hot sunny dusty day in a remote town in America’s Deep South, he knocked on the large wooden front door in a large cattle ranch. The daughter of the farmer opened the door and spoke to the young man at length. After the conversation, he asked her if she could give him a glass of cold water as he was feeling thirsty and weary. The young lady quickly went to the back and came back with a tall glass of cold full cream milk. She said, “You look hungry and tired, and I think you need this, more than water.”
The young man was famished and drank the milk with tremendous gratitude. About 12 years later, he became a surgeon and was told he had to operate on a woman who had a benign tumour in the brain. She had insurance but was told that the insurance was not sufficient to cover the bill that the surgeon needed to be paid. He recognised the name of the young woman and the name of and address of the ranch her family owned. He told the hospital that he would perform the operation very gladly as a matter of priority.
Then he was given a form to sign and confirm that he did not require to be paid for his services. The surgeon gladly signed the form and added the words, “My services have been paid in full with a tall glass of cold milk.”
Our kindness indeed chases us down with untold blessings, not just for ourselves, but also for our generations yet to be born.
The kind acts of Jesus who was a huge historical character is still a fine example to so many.
The book “The Triumph of the Water Lily” is a book about the kindness and gentle nature of an African woman who suffered so much, owing to the fact that she was infertile, in the early years of her marriage. Nkem, the main character of Triumph of the Water Lily eventually died, at a very young age. Her life however touched the lives of so many with grace and comfort.
The story of the boy with the five loaves and two fish is also about how a little boy’s kindness fed thousands of people.
Delta Maria Books is currently giving away four copies of the Triumph of the Water Lily and four copies of “The Boy with the Five Loaves and two fish”- published in English and translated into French and Spanish. It has a world book section with comprehension questions, in French Spanish and English. If you want a copy email
Stella Osammor