Kindness and Civility

By Rebecca Block, Buffalo Exchange Tucson

My daughter is applying to colleges this fall, and one of the best questions she was asked to write about involved what is impacting civility in our society today. It is such a great question with so many possible answers. So, while I won’t be getting into Wake Forest myself, I think I’ll give a try at answering the question.


This wonderful little sticker ‘be kind’ is seen often on the back of cars all over Tucson. It comes from our own kindness factory of a sort, and Tucson loves this organization – Ben’s Bells ( Their mission is to inspire people to realize the impact of intentional kindness. They make brightly colored clay bells and kindness coins, and they also ‘bell’ people by giving away bells to those nominated as deserving of the award. After the Newtown massacre, they opened a studio in Newtown CT, which says so much about the spirit of their belief.

Coffee cup paint brush containers

I do believe that kindness is a central part of civility that they are fighting for, and I am right there with them. It takes nothing to smile at someone, say hello, make eye contact, or just make someone’s day with an honest compliment. “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” is such a wonderful phrase. Perhaps it became overused and, by default, ignored. But, perhaps we just stopped acting upon it? What impact would that small uptick in kindness have upon the people in your own community? Maybe we could all see one less angry, potentially violent, person in our midst? Maybe the kindness would spread? Like a wonderful ripple effect in one of those time machine movies where going back to the past makes the future so much better. One can hope, and, be kind.

Painted flower beads

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” The Dalai Lama