We live in a great country. Yet, as great a country as Canada is, we are not problem free. Admittedly, our problems are not be as severe as countries living under constant threat, but try telling that to people experiencing the problems.
So, what are the problems? For some, it is serious health issues. For others, it is pressing issues related to adequate income. Unhappiness, addictions, etc., are likewise top-of-mind concerns. As good a world as we live in, it is not a perfect world. We try our best, as individuals, and as a community, to address these matters.
Then there are issues that I put in a separate category – those related to matters over which we can have more control. Consider the matter of bullying in schools. This issue continues to haunt, and is being addressed with great vigour. Yet the problem persists.
Another issue within that genre is workplace harassment. Too many workplaces fall prey to what might be termed “adult bullying.” The victims of workplace bullying dread going to work, dread the time they are working, and go home emotionally drained. That does not augur well for the home environment, and the children who grow up in that environment.
Over 10 years ago, we launched Ottawa Kindness Week, an initiative which is ongoing. The logic behind this is that telling people to not do this, or not do that, meets with limited success. Try telling a child to keep away from a cookie. Often, this becomes the child’s focus and, instead of solving a problem, we exacerbate it.
So, we tried a “back door” approach, by promoting kindness as the way to be. Hundreds of schools have embraced this tactic, with varying degrees of success. About two years ago, with the help of a few very generous individuals, we were able to launch a new organization, called Kind Canada Généreux.
Truthfully, the world does not need new organizations, and there are plenty of groups doing very kind things. KCG, as we sometimes lazily call it, has a different agenda, which is to generate kindness on a national platform.
Our major initiative is to develop a Kindness curriculum for Grades K-12 that would be implemented in every school in the country. This is an ambitious goal, but the rewards of success are enormous.
To actually inculcate kindness in the vocabulary of the next generation of Canadians would reverberate in so many positive ways, effecting elimination of bullying, and highlighting the benefits of niceness in schools and homes, as well as other places of engagement.
Studies highlight the impact of kindness on both physical and mental health, on relationships, on volunteerism, on virtually every facet of human endeavour. Kindness, it turns out, hits on all cylinders, effectively addressing some of the major issues we face here in Canada.
Also on our agenda are workplace initiatives, and the establishment of Kindness Week as a truly national endeavour. These are not inexpensive items, but the benefits are potentially huge, including significant savings in health care costs, absenteeism in the work place, drug use, etc.
We are now a registered charity, able to issue tax receipts, and we welcome your support. Our address is Kind Canada Généreux, 38 Auriga Drive, Suite 12, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 8A5.
Our goal is to make Canada the world’s kindest country. With your help, we can do it.
The From the Pulpit column will return next issue.