The Gift of Kindness


Patrick Sweeney, News Editor

The coronavirus pandemic is a golden opportunity for the residents of the United States to realize the power of kindness. The country has experienced too much suffering and death over the past nine months. Many people have shown their support for essential workers during this time to illustrate the importance of their hard work. In addition to this, it is very important for people to reach out to others during the holiday season. There are many things that can be done to put others in a bright mood. Acts of kindness can bring this country together during a time of division. It will prepare us for a bright future in which everyone is accepted and loved.

There has been an outpouring of support for essential workers since the pandemic began. These people have gone above and beyond every day. They care for the most vulnerable in the community. They also put their lives and the lives of their families at risk every day. Many people have directly shown their appreciation for these essential workers. For example, residents of New York clapped from their apartments every night at seven p.m. to thank essential workers. Firemen and other healthcare workers were there to shout to people their support. It is very important to recognize these people for all the hard work they do. They are the ones getting the country through the pandemic. Coronavirus cases are on the rise. In addition to this, the need for food and clothing could not be greater, especially during the holiday season. People from nurses to Salvation Army workers have continued to go out and serve their local community. Their acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed. However, it is time to return their kindness. Many people do not realize how hard it is to care for the sick and work long shifts. They take it for granted and just go about their daily lives. The topic of honoring essential workers has come up in conversation many times across the media. One factor has become clear – this should not be the only time that essential workers are honored in this way. Essential workers always worked very hard. However, they were not put in the spotlight until this point. This pandemic has exposed many factors about this country. It has shown that people should continue to recognize essential workers. Performing a simple act of kindness will make the world a better place. Write a letter to your local hospital or doctor’s office. Send them a Christmas card full of gratitude and appreciation. If everyone does their part to honor these people, we will be a kinder and more appreciative nation. 

Reaching out to others is a very simple way to spread kindness. Many people have been feeling stressed out, anxious and depressed during the pandemic. According to a CDC survey given out to the general public, 31% of adults experienced some sort of “anxiety or depression symptoms.” This can be attributed to the times we are living in. Many people are afraid for their health and safety. They dread going to the grocery store or visiting family members for fear of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. In addition to this, many senior citizens are feeling lonely. They are not able to see family and are forced to be isolated. This makes it even more important to check on others. A simple phone call will do the trick. People like to know that someone is thinking of them. If you want to do more, conduct a Zoom call with individuals who do not have the chance to socialize. In the beginning of the pandemic, I hosted video calls with my grandparents, who are in their late 70s and miss seeing their family. It was a great way to stay connected. Conducting video calls are a very simple act of kindness that bring the feel of being in-person with family members. We should become comfortable with these platforms and use them as a way to reach out to friends and those we love. 

The holiday season is approaching very quickly. However, it will look very different this year. Limits have been placed on social gatherings due to the rapid surge of the coronavirus in the country. Many families are upset that they cannot hold their traditional gatherings with family members. Even though things look different this year, there does not have to be a decrease in kindness during the holidays. For example, families can hold Zoom meetings and watch movies and play games online. This would mimic the traditional holiday gatherings. Families can also open presents together over Zoom. That way, grandparents and other relatives can see the younger children open presents on Christmas morning. This simple but kind gesture will bring the entire family together. 

This holiday season is not about gifts. There are many people who are suffering in this country. Many people take having toys, food, clothing and shelter for granted. However, they need to realize that there are people who are less fortunate. It would be very selfish to want a large amount of materialistic items for the holidays. Instead, people can perform acts of kindness that will make a difference in someone else’s life. For example, they can donate items to charities. They can donate food to Maragaret’s Pantry here in Holyoke by dropping off canned items at HHS North. Families can also participate in toy drives like Toys for Tots. These drives ensure that donated items will be given to those in need. These simple acts of kindness will brighten someone’s day. There are so many people in need both in the community and around the world. Just think about the joy that a child will have when they are given a new toy to play with on Christmas morning. Think about the families that will breathe a sigh of relief when they are given boxes of food. They will be able to have food on the table for the holidays. You will also feel really good about yourself when you donate to charities, knowing that you helped someone in need during this unprecedented holiday season. People can also order and ship gifts to family members or people in the community during the holiday season. Many people have felt upset about not being able to buy gifts for their family and friends. They will not be going over anyone’s house, so they will not be able to give gifts, right? That is incorrect. Online shopping has put an end to that conversation. Families can easily order gifts for each other online. They can get the order shipped right to the house of their family member or friend. This package will make a difference in the life of the person receiving it. They will feel thought about and recognized. Even though the holidays look different this year, we can still make a difference in the lives of others. My parents and I sent out a Christmas card this year to family and friends. On the back of the card, we wrote the quote “This holiday season, bring joy to others with an act of kindness.” Let that be the principle that guides us through this holiday season.

The United States is a very divided nation. The last few months have highlighted these divisions. We are divided on the issue of politics, police brutality and many other issues. Kindness has the power to heal these divisions. If people have more respect and kindness for one another, the nation will be a much better place. The holiday season is a perfect time to start. We can reach out to those we know are feeling sad and lonely. We can also edit our usual holiday plans to ensure safety. We can also ship gifts to those we love but cannot see in-person. Let us make 2021 the year of kindness. We all need it. If we want to end this pandemic and come together as a country, we need to start being kinder to others. As the Grinch once said, “To kindness and love, the things we need most.”