LETTERS: Practise indiscriminate kindness

Take a moment right now. Imagine what it would be like if last week’s weather havoc was a relentless daily assault.

Take a moment right now. Imagine what it would be like if last week’s weather havoc was a relentless daily assault.

Now imagine – no, be aware – that that’s just what it’s like for some of your friends, and neighbours, and relatives, and maybe even you. Only it’s worse. It’s not from weather’s assault, but from assaultive spouses, and rapists, and murderers, and just plain mean-spirited people and groups of people.

Saturday, Dec. 6 was Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Part of my job is to help  raise our community’s awareness about this real onslaught; to remind, and educate, and hopefully motivate you –  individually and collectively – to take preventative action. We need to help stop this kind of cold-hearted assault.

Women continue to be the major recipients of it, followed by children. But we know that frigid, blustery, cruel-hearted havoc can be directed to anyone, of any gender, any age, any race, in every season of the year. It is the chilling reality. It happens on our nation’s highways, in our public schools and in closed-door homes on the streets where we live. It’s the way some human beings treat other human beings and it’s never okay. We all know that.

If you were living in our valley a few years ago you’ll remember seeing posters all over town saying “WANTED! A few (hundred) Good Men!” They were the launch of an initiative to encourage males age 16 and older to join their names to others, speaking out about violence against women and children.

Over a hundred of us signed up. Just that simple act made a difference. Those men helped us to secure government financial grants that led to a counselling program offering support to spousal abusers who wanted to stop their abusive behaviours. It was called Change For Good. And it helped people throughout the South Okanagan/Similkameen to do just that.

Two posters helped in that effort. The first, you may recall, carried the bold red print words STOP IT! It was meant to capture the attention of abusers, and challenge them to change.

The second poster read CHANGE FOR GOOD, publicizing the availability of help. We expected men to respond, but women did too. And it reminded us that men can also be victims, and wives can be abusers.

Then we published another poster. Some of them still remain. It both challenged and reminded all of us to  practise kindness. In fact, there are many of us who do. Undeniably that’s a good thing, and it even feels good, to the giver as well as the receiver. Yet it’s amazing how many of us are selectively kind. That is, we practise kindness sometimes, to some people. Other times we’re just kind of neutral on the kindness scale. We practise random kindness. That lets the door open. We can then also practise unkindness, or random unkindness.

That’s why our poster actually said “PRACTISE indiscriminate KINDNESS.”

“Indiscriminate” was in small print. And that made the poster not just a reminder, but a challenge.

The challenge is, “Don’t just practise kindness to those who deserve it, but also to those who need it.”

That’s harder. But if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be a challenge. Yet isn’t this true: If every one of us were to practise indiscriminate kindness, that would be the ultimate solution? That would indeed end the violence.

‘Tis The Season. The holy holidays are upon us. Peace on earth, good will to all.  Let me challenge you, and also remind myself:  Let’s make practicing indiscriminate kindness our New Year’s resolution.

Deliberately, consciously, intentionally, day by day, with and to everyone – practise kindness and encourage others to join you.

Ron Shonk
RCMP Victim Services Coordinator,
On behalf of our valley’s Proactive Violence Prevention Project

 

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read