In early 2014, while driving on a local freeway, I began to take notice of how common it is for drivers – myself included – to be discourteous at times, particularly when someone in another vehicle seems to be driving aggressively.
Considering myself to be a ‘nice’ person, I didn’t like having to admit that I, too, could be prone to such petty behavior, rather than be courteous regardless of others’ actions on the roadways – or anywhere!
But speaking of the roadways, what thoughts go through your head when you see one or another of the many ribbon campaign stickers on a car or truck?
Are you oblivious because they seem to be everywhere?
Are you spurred into action for a given cause?
Do you wonder about the driver and why he or she is displaying the sticker?
Being one who thinks a lot about things – including “free will” and our ability to consider our actions or reactions before committing to one or another – I started to think that, perhaps, a gentle reminder could make the difference between one’s acting discourteously or courteously, rudely or kindly, in any given situation.
So, how, without being ‘preachy’, could I lead someone to consider kindness at times when second nature might lead them in the opposite direction?
Enter the notion of “Kindness Considered”, followed by my realization that a pair of ‘V’ shaped ribbons,
intertwined in just the right way, could create a ‘K’ – a “Kindness K”, if you will – that could act as just the sort of gentle reminder that I envisioned.
To make a very long story shorter: About a year later, after much trial and error, I managed to fold a couple pieces of ribbon into the shape of a ‘K’, photograph them, use a graphic editor on the computer to superimpose the word ‘KINDNESS’ on the different sections in a way to suggest cooperation and synergy, and save the final “Kindness K” graphic in a format that could be printed by a commercial printer.
But first, I bought some sticker stock, printed out a few sheets of “Kindness Ks”, cut them out by hand, and
started distributing them to friends, relatives, and a few interested strangers – including a man whom I’d given a ride home after seeing him struggle, pushing a bulky, flat-tired, bicycle along the curb one evening as I was driving home from work. As we were unloading his bike from my car, I explained my ‘kindness’ concept to him, and he enthusiastically assured me that he would proudly display the sticker – on that very bicycle!
Since then, the movement has grown to include the original website: www.kindnessconsidered.com (and a few more kindness-related URLs pointing in that direction), an interactive Facebook page, “Kindness K” stickers, lapel pins, key chains, and calling cards with the ‘K’ on the front and the mission statement on the back:
“Our mission is to encourage kindness in the actions of all who see or display the “Kindness K.””
I must tell you: Knowing that I have that “K” displayed on my car works fairly well. Virtually every time I need to decide how to react in any given driving situation, it actually makes me consider whether my actions would be considered hypocritical by someone who sees that I’m displaying that “Kindness K”!
Of course, whether it leads that observer to consider kindness, (or whether it would for the rest of “the first million”, whom we “Kindness K” enthusiasts hope to reach by distributing the free promotional media), remains to be seen…
And, of course, kindness is not just for drivers…
So, I hope you’ll join the enthusiastic group of loyal supporters in this movement to get kindness considered as the most effective course of action, by displaying the “Kindness K” (currently available free of charge), by handing out promotional materials as you see fit, and, if you can, by donating to the cause, because, for both funding and kindness, “Every little bit helps!”
A convenient way to donate is via the PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org, and that’s also the contact address for more information, requests for stickers, lapel pins, key chains, and calling cards – with or without a donation.