Friday, March 23, 2012

Kindness Desperation

Recently, some friends posted this video:

It's an undeniably cool thing to watch. Cute as heck, for sure, especially because the big, tough secret service guys are handling ducklings. But some comments people made reminded me of how desperate we are for acts of kindness these days. A lot of people made reference to compassion and the beauty of simple acts. This is all true.

But it got me thinking: Is there anyone in the world who wouldn't have done this?

It's sad to me. We're so desperate for kindnesses and for decent behavior in our world, that these things stick out as precious when they should seem commonplace.

I remember an essay by Michael Chabon in which he referenced a trip to the supermarket with his kids and a woman in the check out line said, "You're a good dad," with a warm smile on her face. Chabon pointed out how ridiculously desperate we must be for compassionate, involved fathers when a woman is moved simply by the fact that a dad is dragging his kids along through the supermarket checkout line. (He also pointed out that he doesn't remember having been doing a particularly good job at the time, either -- something about one of the kids sucking on  twist-ties.)

It's undeniably cute, the duckling thing, but I sure wish it weren't newsworthy. Sigh.

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