Notes from the Director

November

“When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”

– Abraham Joshua Heschel

I have one of those milestone birthdays coming up and it gets me thinking about what I have learned so far in this life. I have been a social worker for about as long as I can remember. In this position I have had countless opportunities to witness people’s struggles and to try to find a way to help make it better.

I have seen a number of theories and approaches come and go. I have witnessed behaviorism, empowerment, social change, people that blame the individual, people that blame society, and those who just refuse to believe that injustice and poverty exist. Life is unfair, it’s wonderful, it’s awful and it’s filled with beauty – and that was just yesterday! This adventure called life is messy business.

Although I don’t know much, I am absolutely sure of one thing: kindness matters. Every theory can be debunked if it’s not delivered with kindness. It’s the relationship between people that makes all the difference and motivates others to make lasting changes.

Lately it seems like society has forgotten how to be kind. If the last couple months of political ads are any indication, then we are in great trouble as a society. There seems to be a growing meanness about. ‘Everyone out for themselves, the means justifies the ends, all’s fair in love and war’. You know the sayings.

But this isn’t the end of the story – not by any means. Hope and good news abound. Family Promise takes a different path and plays by different standards. Standards that say that if someone is hurting, we need to help. That everyone is worthwhile. That we must act like we are all in this together, because we are. That even the smallest kindness can have a ripple effect that we will never know, but that ultimately it makes a difference.

Kindness matters. Spread it around!

Gloria Edwards