So let's begin with my definition of this word, “Do things for others while expecting nothing in return.” My definition is very similar except that in addition to treating others the way we want to be treated, I have included the reality that we shouldn't expect a reward.
Obviously I am preparing my students for the life lesson that not everyone, in the world, will treat them nicely. But not only that, there is also so much more to this. We all know that one person who does things, with the expectation of being seen by others. “Hey look at me, I'm a kind person because I did this.” Worse yet are those who say “I helped you last month, so you have to help me this month”.
Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson
As warriors, our code isn't to help others when we feel like it, or when it is convenient. Our code requires us to stand between the enemy and those we love, regardless of the situation. This doesn't mean we must always fight. Sometimes this may mean doing other tasks such as tutoring a friend for the big math exam, or helping a friend make a car repair. It may also mean taking in a friend when they are homeless, or feeding them when they are hungry. Regardless of the enemy, we should be ready to defend our loved ones, at any cost.
A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. ~Chinese Proverb
So let's look at a couple of real examples in my own life. One that really stands out from my childhood is a story I over heard my parents discussing. My dad is a very friendly person, and he waves at everyone, every day, everywhere. One day he was driving home from work and had a flat tire. A gentleman stopped and began helping him. As my dad began talking to him, he found that this was a man that he waved at every day, for years. The gentleman felt a bond of friendship, even though they had never met, and when he saw my dad was in trouble, he took the time to stop and help. My dad's daily kindness had made an impression, and when he was in trouble, the other felt it was time to show some kindness in return.
A fellow who does things that count, doesn't usually stop to count them. ~Variation of a saying by Albert Einstein
Another, more negative example is next. My wife has a family member with a drug addiction. She has been in jail, she has been kicked out of several apartments, her boyfriend tried to kill her, they are often hungry and always fighting about something. She frequently comes to us for help, and it always ends the same way. We have helped her get a job, where she is is often tardy, or absent. We attempted to help her get a vehicle, but she chose not to do it, because she was afraid her boyfriend would be angry. We have offered her multiple places to live, just to have her pull away and live closer to her addict friends. I could continue, but the point is this. Although our desire is to help this relative, what are we actually doing? Are we subconsciously helping her get worse? How does it help her, if she doesn't appreciate it? Unfortunately, in this case, sometimes the kindest thing we can do for the ones we love is issue out some tough love. It is difficult to do, but often a tough lesson is the kindest lesson. Kindness doesn't mean we always help. Sometimes, it requires us to stand back and let the loved one fail. It is often impossible to re-build someone until they are truly ready to change their life.
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown
As we look at our daily lives, we find many examples of times we should have been kinder. How many kids help their parents with housework? How many do it without being told? How many do it without expecting payment? I will end with a question my instructor asked on a daily basis, “What have you done for your mom and dad today?” For adults, what have you done for your family? What have you done for your neighbors? Your friends? Your co-workers? What have you done for your community? And most importantly, what have you done to create a legacy, that will carry on for many years to come? What will others say about us, after we are gone? It's a new day, go out and find someone who is in need of kindness.
Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.