Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft–Book Review

Kindness is another fruit of the Spirit.  If the book I recently reviewed on gentleness was challenging, some of the statistics in this one are chilling:

  • Empathy has dropped 40% in college-aged students since the year 2000
  • The average student today has as much anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950’s
  • A recent survey showed that 40% of U.S. adults eighteen and older reported feeling alone and 47% felt left out

The underlying reason for all of these problems in a lack of significant human connectedness.  The sharp decline in empathy and increase in anxiety and loneliness seems to  coincide with our technological inventions and advancement.

According to the author, kindness is not normal (we Christians would agree –(after all, we are innately sinful and selfish).– it is something we need to cultivate.  There are different levels of kindness:

  • Common kindness –i.e. politeness and courtesy.  Showing basic respect for others.
  • Confetti kindness– mass-marketed, warm and fuzzy things like “random acts of kindness” or pay-it-forward coffee lines.
  • Deep kindness– generosity that overcomes our selfishness and fear, and that helps others without expecting anything in return

The author explores some of the reasons we avoid deep kindness:  fear of rejection or failure, embarrassment, business, exhaustion and inconvenience.  There are also many suggestions and exercises for developing deeper empathy in our lives.  Most of us would agree that our world needs kindness now more than ever before.

Although not overtly Christian, this would be a good read for Christians.  It goes right along with the findings in a previous book I reviewed, The Other Half of Church by Jim Wilder & Michel Hendricks–Book Review.  Often our churches paint a picture of good behavior without any training in the “how” of actually achieving it.  In consequence, we know how we should act, we just don’t do it.

VERDICT:  5 Stars.  This would be a good choice for a book club or small group to read and discuss.

For more on kindness see these posts:

A Quote on Kindness

The War For Kindness by Jamil Zaki — Book Review

The Kindness Crown

Apathy, Sympathy or Empathy?



The Kindness Crown

Image result for teach children to be kind verseOne of my daughters teaches 4 year olds at a daycare center.  She says many of the children who come into her class have not yet learned basic courtesy;  they yell out when they want something, but in line, grab toys from other children.  In order to teach better social behavior, she uses something she calls “the kindness crown.”  Each time a child demonstrates kindness (see the list above) they get to wear the kindness crown for a while.  This positive reinforcement seems to work.  She says soon the kids are vying to be helpful and noticing when someone forgets to say “please” and “thank you.”

We can all learn to behave kindly, just like these youngsters.  In the book of Romans, Paul tells us to “outdo one another in showing honor.”  Anyone can be respectful, polite and kind.  It doesn’t require special talents or abilities;  it just takes a little forethought and self-control. These simple practices make all our relationships better, and in the end, we’ll win a crown also.  We’ll hear these words from Jesus: “well done, good and faithful servant.”

So as soon as you get up today, remember to put on the kindness crown!  Your kind behavior will influence others to be kind.