A hidden power to change the world

Photo for representation.

“I get by with a little help from my friends,” goes a popular, retro Beatles number. And its philosophy is evergreen. Acts of kindness from our friends, family members and strangers have, over the years, helped us face and cope with the vicissitudes of life.

Such acts have come to ease our journey of life in moments of distress and disappointments. Having been at the receiving end of kindness naturally places an obligation on us as well to be benefactors of kindness.

This philosophy was brought out powerfully by Catherine Ryan Hyde in her novel, Pay it forward, that was later adapted into a movie. The story starts with a teacher’s assignment issued to the protagonist, his 12-year-old student Trevor, on the topic, ‘Think of an idea for world change and put it into action.’

Trevor comes up with the idea that if he does something ‘real good’ for three people with the instruction that instead of “paying him back” they “pay the favour forward” by committing an act of kindness to three other people, who are in turn asked to pay it forward.

The spiralling effect of kindness could change the world.

Though the movie goes through many twists in the tale, the central theme conveyed is that kindness of any kind, whether premeditated or random, has the hidden power to change the world. Just as it only takes a spark to get a fire going, all it takes to spread the habit of kindness is the initial act of kindness by a person.

The kindness shown catches on and most certainly becomes a contagious habit. The warmth in an act of kindness is packed with power to melt the coldness of even the most apathetic person and spur him to act kindly to others. In no time then, an initial act of kindness becomes a way of life leading towards mutual harmony and collective accord.

This hidden power in kindness is so essential to change the world from a dangerous place to a peaceful haven that novelist Henry James once said, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”

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