Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Tip of the Hat

The smallest act of kindness make change the world forever.



After Archbishop Desmond Tutu won a Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid in South Africa, he was asked to recall some of the formative experiences in his life.

He replied, "One incident comes to mind immediately. When I was a young child, I saw a white man tip his hat to a black woman. Please understand that such a gesture is completely unheard of in my country. The white man was an Episcopal bishop and the black woman was my mother."

I'm going to see how many small acts of kindness I can give today.

This story about Desmond Tutu is excerpted from a column written by Rev. Gene Nelson for my local paper. Last night my wife and I enjoyed dinner and warm conversation with Gene, who is the Minister of Sebastopol's Community Church.

14 comments:

steven said...

dan - such a compelling moment that quickly dives to the core essence of the implicit goodness that is available to us at any moment we choose to be available to it. steven

The Solitary Walker said...

This is a compelling and beautiful vignette from Archbishop Tutu. Small acts of kindness add up to so much.

Jo said...

Small post, powerful message. Thank you for this whisper of a voice that reminds us that no gesture of kindness is insignificant to its recipient.

Dan Gurney said...

steven, yes always there, not always seen.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Robert. Some small acts of kindness take root and grow like Redwood trees. I think, like seeds, only a very few grow like the one described here, but we never know which of our small kindnesses might be "the one" so it's important to sow them as freely and as widely as we can.

Dan Gurney said...

Jo, you're welcome. I hope that it will inspire everyone who reads it to act on an impulse towards kindness...

Alden Smith said...

Yes, at any time any of us can choose to be an emotional or physical good samaritan.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Alden,

thanks for stoppiong by... it's been a while since I've heard from you. Welcome back!

Paul C said...

Yes, the choice is ours to make big differences with small, but very thoughtful acts of kindness.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Dan. This reminder that our lives are measured in moments, one at a time, is much needed in these days of multiple everythings. I needed it.

Margaret Pangert said...

Simple to give these gifts; mountains in receiving them.

Dan Gurney said...

Paul, yes. I think of small acts of kindness sort of like acorns. Most of them fade back into the soil. A few grow into huge oak trees. Can't know which will be which, so you want to make a lot of acorns.

Dan Gurney said...

Yes, Ruth. I can tell (from the distance I keep between myself and the media) that there's a lot cooking these days in this world. This precious distance makes me much happier and much more able to bring goodness into the world here and now one moment at a time.

Dan Gurney said...

Margaret, that's such an important point to raise. Sometimes it's easier to give out kindnesses than it is to receive them with awareness, gratitude, and deep appreciation for the giver. The kindness equation only can work if it is received. So it's just as important to work on cultivating gratitude for the myriad kindnesses that come our way.