ARRR, me hearties!

BVN Article

Thursday 01 March

Why are pirates called pirates? Because they arrrr. That’s one of my favourite jokes and it last had an outing on 19th September – International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I have become fascinated, and not a little bewildered, by the fact that we now seem to have a special day for just about anything you can think of. Being a Yorkshire lass I am happy with Yorkshire Pudding Day (4th Feb) and, being a dog lover, National Puppy Day (23 March) also appeals. Some of these days make total sense.  Puppy Day serves to highlight the need for homes for orphaned pups as well as to educate people about the horrors of puppy farming. International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June) aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.

At the time of writing it is approaching Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th Feb). This one puzzles and rather saddens me.  Have we really got to the point where we need a special day to remind us to be kind?  We live in an age where the Internet allows instant comments from both acquaintances and complete strangers. Anonymous bullies can cause humiliation and untold grief. Email removes the nuances of verbal communication and can result in misunderstandings. The stresses of everyday life can cause us to be curt, frustrated and angry. I confess I am not immune to shouting at other drivers from the safety of my own car (and secure in the knowledge they can’t hear me!). Perhaps a reminder to be kind is not such a bad thing even though I am sure most of us are, or intend to be, most of the time. Kindness is contagious and is a gift that costs nothing. It makes people feel good. Research shows that helping others can be beneficial to our own mental health. It can reduce stress, improve our emotional wellbeing and even benefit our physical health. Or, according to the book of Proverbs (16:24) “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body”. So nothing new in that research!

I am going to challenge myself during Lent to consciously carry out at least one act of kindness every day. This could be telling someone I am proud of them, encouraging someone, passing on a good book, buying extra food for the food bank, smiling at someone on the street, letting someone into my lane in traffic, picking up litter, calling a relative I haven’t spoken to for a while, or making a donation to a charity. There are so many ways. Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9).

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