The problem with kindness is that we take it for granted. We assume that it will be there when we suffer and need it the most. But human kindness is that rare and natural resource in our world. It's endangered by the race towards independence and self-reliance, those old enemies of illness, babies, disability and aging.
Caregivers are the keepers, nurturers and practitioners of all the secrets of kindness. We know how to comfort without calling attention to frailty. We have learned to anticipate pain in our loved ones even before they do. We've memorized recipes for the soups and casseroles that can tempt even the most reluctant palates. We reminisce, even when the dishes need clearing up. And we call friends to come over and visit if loneliness rears its ugly head. The kindness isn't just in the act of telephoning, it's in keeping it secret so an elderly parent may experience the delight and pride that an old friend dropped in unexpectedly, 'just because'.
But kindness isn't only about comfort and joy. No, science has shown that it has real, healing benefits. Caregivers know best and we always have. The world needs to listen closely and learn.