Sunday Thoughts: Kindness

For me, this week has been characterised by kindness. Amid the usual grind of work and family life I have found a few reasons to remember that, above all else, it’s people that make life interesting.

First off, my wife decided to do the Cancer Research UK Run for Life this year. I asked her why she wanted to do it and her reply was: I just want to do something for other people. A kind and quite touching sentiment that I was slightly taken aback by. I’d expected it to be something to do with her auntie who died a few years ago or someone she works with suggesting it to her.

She has involved her whole family too, getting them all to do it, even if they’re only strolling around. I’ve heard tentative suggestions that they might do it in pink tutus and fairy wings but I still think that my idea of doing it in cars was the most sensible. Anyway, it’s a kind thing they’re doing for other people and that’s to be applauded.

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When she got her entry sorted and her account set up with Cancer Research UK and Just Giving, I tweeted the link and suggested that it would be nice if people sponsored her. I don’t like asking people to do things like that so I think I was quite timid about it. I just suggested that it would be cool to donate, if my followers wanted to. Her target was £100 and, through the generosity of people she has never met or spoken to, she broke it within 24 hours and has now been able to increase her goal. That’s the kind of random kindness that genuinely gets me quite emotional. It’s amazing.

The very next day, my friend and colleague, Lewis Gaston, had his album go live on iTunes. He’s very talented but unsigned and undiscovered so he isn’t expecting this first release to make him rich. He just wants to get his music out to a wider audience and see how well it is received. Of course, we all personally support him but shortly after I tweeted that my followers might want to check it out, I got an email from Alex. “Shall we put a little advert on the site for Lewis?”

Within minutes, the advert was done and I’d written a brief post which was totally unrelated to video games in any way and posted it on the site. Of course, we don’t profit from this use of our resources in any way (other than hopefully getting the pleasure of seeing Lewis successful). We just did it to help Lewis out a little bit. Not only that, when that post went live I was half expecting someone to complain about it being self-indulgent, irrelevant nonsense for a gaming site. I half expected someone to tell me I was abusing our position. That didn’t happen. People welcomed the notice and asked questions about the music. They showed an interest and took a few minutes out of their own lives to check it out.

Of course, the following day we woke up to the tragic natural disaster that has struck Japan. These events always give plenty of opportunity for kindness and we soon saw people and governments offering help and sympathy.

While some gaming sites tried to spin and exploit the news to attract traffic, Lee wrote a heartfelt and touching piece which we published quietly. We wanted to show that we cared, we wanted people to know what was happening and invite them to share our sympathy but we didn’t want to make a big fuss about it. Our own community, and a slightly wider community of industry folks, reacted with dignity and respect to what I think was possibly the most sensitive piece of writing I’ve seen on the subject anywhere.

When we can engage in activities, gestures and acts of compassion so willingly, it puts into perspective the occasions when other people do their best to convince us that humanity is a hostile, seething mass of rage.

Sometimes (and, as usual, I’ll point out that TSA is the best place on the internet for avoiding this) people do their best to lie, misdirect and accuse others of wrongdoing. Sometimes people, especially behind the masking curtain of the internet, are quick to cast profoundly ignorant accusations and hurl painfully misguided insults.

I’ll be honest, when that happens, and especially when it happens here (because it is so out of place and rare) I feel like switching everything off and abandoning any interaction with other people. But then I remember, or I see, something else. Something kind and honest and honourable. An act of compassion.

When I witness (and, perhaps too seldom, take part in) acts of kindness like these, it reminds me that humankind isn’t a lost cause. It reminds me that, all around the pockets of ignorance, there are crowds of people all too happy to help a good cause, show support to a friend and empathise with a people on the other side of the world.

So, to the people out there that have done something kind, said something reassuring or simply been there to show support. I’d like to show my own appreciation.

Thank you.

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32 Comments

  1. I donated some money to a friend for cancer research, cant do any harm can it :)

  2. i cant remmember the last kind thing i did, unless you count my direct debit monthly payment to wwf…..but thats just money….and again donating to mcmillan cancer research. Does this count as kindness?

    I like to think there is kindness in us all, even those who choose to be nasty behind the mask of the internet.

    • Your kind action for today is replying to my new competition thread in the Mods area on the forum *coughs*… ;-)

    • You donate to wrestling !!!

      • lol. Shamefully the wildlife won that legal battle so wrestling is now WWE.

  3. Lovely article, Peter. I catch up with a friend once a week and he’s a huge video gamer too. I tell him about TSA going-ons and about some of the heartfelt articles that pop up from time-to-time. He’s constantly amazed that there’s even room on the internet for such maturity as your feelings (above) would be torn a new botty-hole elsewhere on the internet.

    A community is where we all look after each other. Communicate properly. Just like a family, we’re going to find things to love and things to hate. People to fall for (DrNate, have my babies!) or people to argue you with but when it comes down to it, the greater good is the site. No single individual is more important and if the momentum that the community has maintains a true course then we can continue to have kindness at every corner. Even the dark ones where I work.

    • Haha! Soon. The research is going well. I just need to stop the monkeys from exploding during the 3rd trimester.

  4. In the end , all we are, and all that makes us the people we appear to be through the eyes of others, is a series of interactions, layers upon layers of which are the foundation for daily life.

    More often than not it costs nothing to do something good, to help someone, to greet someone. Being kind is one of the most rewarding acts one can perform, the beauty of which is the less you consciously wish for said act to be rewarding, the more it is so.

  5. When I did the Extra Life Rock Band marathon, this was how I felt. People donating hundreds of pounds to charity because I was playing Rock Band. Everyone was so kind, and I couldn’t have done it without anyone, made it completely worth it in the end.
    Thank you, everyone. I love charity and I love when I see random acts of kindness. It makes me think this world is wonderful and it outweighs the evil in the world.
    Or maybe I’m just to optimistic.

    • *too
      HOW DID I DO THAT?
      *dies*

  6. What a lovely article to read on a Sunday morning. I count myself lucky as I see kindness all the time in my life (I’m a student nurse) and it’s always amazing to see the compassion and caring given by people. With all the stuff you hear in the news and on the internet it’s easy to think that kindness is a dwindling trait in humanity these days but articles like this show that is not the case :-)

  7. What self-indulgent, irrelevant nonsense to post on a gaming site.

    • Brilliant. Surprised it took so long but happy we got there ;)

      • Im waiting for a scathing attack from GJIAF that this emotional twaddle has no place on a games site.

    • Hey, it mentions ‘gaming’ once. What more do you want?!

      • Maybe if there was a review score at the end?

    • To be honest, fella, it’s more than a gaming site.

  8. I remember during a job interview once, I was asked why I would carry heavy items to the cars of old people or people who looked like they would struggle during my last job. I answered because if it is within your ability to help someone, then you should. Just seemed like common sense to me, I would want the same treatment. The guy interviewing me noted it was a “good answer”. It shouldn’t be a good answer though! It should be the standard response everyone has to seeing someone in trouble.

    My girlfriend’s dad held a door open for an old lady a few months ago, and she graciously thanked him noting that nobody had held a door for her in years. It just seems to me that Britain has lost some basic human aspect. It’s more than just manners, we seem colder and more indifferent to the suffering of others, be it in the little day to day things, or the big disasters like Japan.

    But then, just as you begin to despair for the state of mankind, people will do things that surprise you, and rekindle some faith in humanity. Sometimes.

    • I held a door open for a woman once and she was offended. She said “Did you hold that door for me because I’m a woman?!” and I responded with “No, I held it open for you because I’m a man”.
      I don’t think she really got it. I was sad to see someone so ready to be insulted by what should be a common courtesy.

      • haha, how could she get offended when u just were kind and held the door open for her?
        but ur answear was brilliant!!! =) haha

  9. TSA is pretty honest, I like that about it.

  10. Where’s the group hug at?

    Good piece CB, enjoyed reading it and it lifted me after a horrendous couple of days!

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