The art of being kind

Index

.

introduction

This page will have  more updates. I mark subtitles in Index above with green what has content so far.

I am reading “The art of being kind” (published 2005)  by Stefan Einhorn a Swedish oncologist and writer. This page will be finalized when I have read his book  and documented what I found out reading it.

If you too are intrested, you may know about this book looking at a Ted at this video from 2009:

Stefan talks English. A hint: click on the three buttons under the video in youtube to get the transcipt in your language.

There are many “the art of… ” books but I like this for a reason I will try to explain below.

I did my best to be kind my pupils my last years as a teacher. My  thought was, you must love your pupils to be able to reach them. I also learned that I will not gain anything if I cry at them being angry, especcially with pupils who have some sort of  disorder, like Attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder or similar.
Kids are not born evil. I they devlope evilness it’s for a reason you should try to  understand and make you pupil udnerstand  too as part of developing emphatic intellgence (EQ

Its very important to understand this with pupils that risc to develope criminal or destructive behaviour, kids that have low resistance to obstacles in life. We have suburb areas in our main towns were many pupils end up in criminal gangs were they become important and can get easy money. Politicians here talk about having more math lessons and more discipliine in the class. But they seem to forget the reasons why many kids fail in school. I have understood that the teachers attiude in the class is very important more important than the amount of lesson time. Quality is  more important than quantity.

What do you say when a pupils doesn’t give you the right answer? How do you react in the class if a pupil makes something stupid?

It loks like many schools and teachers forget or do not understand what is valuable on the street in youth gangs.

On the street the curriulum is different. It may be that if you get your  teacher angry you get 5 points. If you make you teacher crazy that can give you 10 points. if you make you teacher loose his job htne you get 30 points. If you are relegated from the school, wow , 50 points. If the police takes you, that is  great, 100 points, if you end up in jail, you ar the king, you earn 1000 points and you may get a position of respected boss on the street. teachers should not play this game.

If omeone makes something provocative do your best to keep calm and talk with that pupils after the lesson somewhere  in a quiet and relaxed place. Tell with your kind  voice hat you care about the pupil (if you do it. You should :). Ask the pupil why he/she did that. If the pupil can not answer tell that you both can think about it until the next time you met. Get the pupil to think about the behaviour and what it means for the future.

I had often to talk about the future of our pupils. Some thought  they want to be a socccer player. I said, Good, you certainly have this possibility. But what happen when you become old? I think you should one day instead  get so rich you can buy soccer clubs.

Some other said, “I will become a drug dealer”! I answer, well, it is not nice to have a lot of money and not be able to use it without always hiding yourself. Study and become smart and you will maybe earn a lot of money in a honest way. It costs you some efforts but you will become a lifelong winner.

I am proud of this New years card from a pupil of mine.

“Happy New Year , Stellan, the world kindest and smartest mentor.”

She probably thought I were smart as I know 6 languages and were learning Arabic. 🙂
Mentor is a teacher who has dialog with parents. I were her mentor and math and Science teacher.

Or was it only because i were kind?

I  am in touch with three former pupils in Facebook  and discord among others.  I am very happy about that One of them is my videoeditor teacher now and we talk often about different life issues.

I were happy when I found this book. I want to learn more about this issue.

.

kindness in Sweden

Kind (ed. in Swedish “Snäll”) is often compared with being stupid in Sweden, one who is not able to defend himself.  I have met pupils who thought that but they learned after a while that I did not accept all kind of behaviours. 

.

kindness, moral and ethics

Ethics

Ethics is about  relations with other fello humans in this biosphere. It is how e relates with other humans and with our world.

Every time we met a human being we deal  also ethics. How do I respond the best way to my fellow human needs? How much time do I have for my fellow man or woman?

Etic is the art of being together.

We are responsible for our Earth with all its inhabitants, fauna and flora, as we can make our Biosphere become a Paradise, a Hell or destroy it.

In many parts of our Earth there is Hell, mainly due to human behaviour.

Ethics is the pillar upon which humanity and our Biosphere can survive.

Moral, Ethics and Tools

Even if both Moral and Ethics deal with human relations,   these two words have with time got different values.

While Ethics are the “norms, laws and rules we are expected to follow”,
Moral is the way we follow the ethic laws and rules. It is how we think and act when there is a ethical problem.

Like e.g. would you lie or hurt or kill someone to save a third person or a victim?

We often met ethical dilemmas. our brain is developed to deal with these.

Tools

To help us solve these ethical dilemmas, we have five tools we should be aware about and develope.

  1. The ethical principles, norms, rules  and laws,  humanity has developed
  2. We have a common sense that helps us analyze  and value so we can do good and avoid evilness. 
  3. We a conscience that like a compass tells if we are doing god or bad.
    1. Our emphatic capacity to “put ourselves in someone else shoes” as Martin Buberg defined one condition for a real dialogue in his book “I and thou“.(A thought of mine. Was it Common sense, Conscience and Empathy,  Eve and Adam got eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in Eden?)

      (Image source:saintjohnsanglican.org  )
      Empathy is one of the most important tools to develope with our youth in our home and schools.

.

Empathy

As I knew students cant learn if they come to the classroom with bad feelings and. They often also misunderstood each others startint this way stressing conflicts. I started every lesson with asking how they felt,  giving them a number of words for feelings marked in green (good feelings for successful learning) to red (bad feelings for unsuccessful learning). I personally believe that you can never succeed in kindness without haveing developed EQ. To raise the empathy quotient EQ one has train step by step:

    1. Recognize your own feelings (how do you feel when you are angry, sad, happy,…).
    2. Give your feelings a word.
    3. Find reasons why you feel like you to
    4. Find ways to get rid of bad feelings and achieve harmony and happiness
    5. Recognize others feelings.
      help others to dealing with bad to get good feelings.

EQ is also important for successful collaboration as one of the strategies are to recognize your own defensivness. I wrote about that in http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/02/04/cooperation/#Improving_collaboration

Like Anne Sullivan said:

“Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.” — 

Empathy is important but 

being an Empath can lead to Adrenal Fatigue, Insomnia & Exhaustion, “empathic distress” (  https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/03/empaths-adrenal-fatigue-broken-sleep-exhaustion/    )

It is important that “We question the benefit or harm we may be causing ourselves and the person we are serving.

..

.

False kindness

We must be aware about false kindness as this often lead to undesired effects.

E.g.

  • Unhability to say no or correct/stop a bad behaviour with some “good intention”. 
    • Like when Sweden sold iron and also probably bearings to Nazi Germany to save Sweden from invasion.
    • Like when the catholic church did nothing to stop the killings of Tutsi in Rwanda 1994.
    • Like when the Catholic inquisition tortured men and women (e.g. Giordano Bruno “to save them from the fire in Hell.” ( Link
  • Evil with a face of  kindness
  • White knight/horse syndrom when a person’s frame of thought in all things romantic is completely dream oriented and not grounded in reality (Source ). Stefan Einhorn describes it as when a person think they are good. They are unable to accept their own evilness, seing evilness everywhere and in other people. They regard themselves as white knights. You may recognize them as having a calm voice and a  smiling face.  They suppress their aggressivity in a kind of passive aggressiveness.
  • False kindness is also practiced by organisations whose purpose is to get your money. 

..

True kindness

You have true kindness hwen you have: 

  • Good thoughts and good deeds
    Stefan has this subtitle in his book. I were surprised as this is similar to the basic rule in Zoroastrism good thoughtsgood wordsgood deedsread the gathas.   )


    (Image source: http://gulfofpersia.blogspot.com )
    It is easier to control our words and deeds than our thoughts.

    You can never require yourself to think bad thoughts.  Bad thought is sinful according to Christian belief. It is not surprising if every Christian at every Sunday mass has to confess “Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.” . The Quran warns us from the whispering of Satan  “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitan (Satan), then seek refuge with Allah.”  ( Quran 7:200 ) If Satan exists how easy is it then not to listen?
    Stefan mention a 2500 year old and wise quote from Aesop “No good deed how insignificant it may be is wasted or useless”

    ( Image source:   www.brainyquote.com   )
    How often do we hear “Why should I do that? It would not change the world”. I liked Michiu Kaku thought  about the Meaning of life ” to 
    leave this world a better place than we first entered it.” If I clean a piece of  beach or wood, how insignificant  my deed may be regarded, anyway I do right that. I like Sadh Gurus story about helping a old woman cross the street.
  • Kind thought and kind deeds
    In Sweden there is a saying that “The thought is what counts” (Det är tanken som räknas”) A good friend of mine gave a gift to my son that he bought several years ago at Liedl. When my son tried it, it did not work fully. I were a little bit bitter about such a gift. he could at least have tried it before giving it as a birthday gift. Was not my son worth more? I agree with Stefan  “Let us throw the saying above in  the garbage can.
  • kindness and judgement
    Good deeds are what counts the most. You may have bad thoughts now and then but 
    without judgement it is almost impossible to do good deeds

    I personally think that empathy is a very important if not the most important tool to correctly  judge the consequences of your deeds.
    What is acceptable for one fellow men may not be acceptable by another.  With good empathy and judgement you maybe save yourself from misjudgement or hurting someone.
  • kindness and courage

.

.

Obstacles

Lack of time and resources

  • Poor empathy
    With poor empathy it is like walking in the darkness
  • Poor thinking
  • To not want to get engaged
  • To not live like you teach
  • Innated  aggressiveness
  • Victim attitude
  • Someoneelseism
  • When it goes worng whatever we do
  • How to handle obstacles
  • A underdeveloped brain.
    I add this obstacle, as it now has been scientifically proven that people with underdeveloped brain may be at risc for criminal behaviour. My granduncle and psychiatrist Olof Kinberg argued for that many years ago and got Politicians of his time, to change the Swedish law 1915-1922.  Morgan Freeman in his documentary “Understanding evil” shares about how we today with MRT scan can discover this.
     

.

Is it worth to be kind? The Golden rule

Stefan talks here about:

  • Animal studies
  • Studies of human beings
    Stefan has found that that the Golden rule is to be followed  in several religions like Islam, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Most religions have some kind of judgement system for  our behaviours toward our next.
  • Other observations

.

Success

.

.

Kindness and success

Stefan  said in his Ted that the meaning of life is relationship. Relationship is of course important. But listen to Emely Esfahani in her ted from 2017 According to her research these are the pillars of Meaning of life:

Stefan talks in this chapter about 

  • Generosity
  • To see others
  • Conflicts
  • Empathy
  • Responsibility
  • To be a good example
  • It isn’t that easy to change

Effects of being kind
 Stefan says among others this intresting comparison: “Doing a good thing gives the same pleasure as a drug. You can stop taking drug and start making good things and get the same good feeling.”
This reminds about the advice to a alcoholic to read the Persian poetry translated into Swedish by Eric Hermelin.  “Persian poetry is stronger than alcohol”

 

.

.

 

.

Conclusion

 

A agnostic pluralist seeker