On Kindness

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Today is World Kindness Day. Did you know that?

I talk to my kids about kindness a lot, and tell them that, in my opinion, kindness is the most important thing. Over smarts. Over physical skill. Over creativity. I will say “Kids!!! What’s the most important thing?!?!” And sometimes they will know, straight away. Kindness is where it’s at. Kindness is the greatest human currency. It’s what will save us, in the end.  

In my opinion, anyway.

I don’t know how much they listen when I talk about it, and as a parent I often fail at being kind: at showing them by example that it’s most important. But at parent/teacher conferences last week BOTH of their teachers mentioned the word “kind” when describing them. So hopefully something is sticking.

It’s really important to me, this thing kindness.

Because we’re so quick to be everything but kind. We’re Judge-MENTAL. We’re gossipy. We’re selfish. We’re critical. We’re clique-y. We’re right. We’re black and white in a world that’s really meant to be gray. We cast stones. We point fingers. We obsess over difference, in an “us” and “them” kind of way.

But you know we also are? We’re also lonely. Scared. Isolated. Overwhelmed. Tired. Trying to get by. Trying to make it through.

Look around you right now. Whether you’re on a plane, in a coffee shop, at an office, in your home, at the grocery store, in a park: Everyone around you is trying to make it through. Everyone around you has a story, probably a multi-layered one. Everyone is worried about something. Struggling with something. Battling something. Recovering from something. Wishing for something. Hoping. Dreaming. I just don’t believe that there is anyone that looks in the mirror and says: “Well, me and my life are just PERFECT in every way, now aren’t we?!” No. Our mirrors know better.

How much changes when we remember that everyone looks in a mirror that knows better; that everyone has a story, that our own story is only one of millions?


It’s the currency that will get us through.

If I look at the world through a lens of kindness then my heart and mind and arms are open to others, in a way that is profoundly different then if I just go about my day consumed by my own story only. My eyes are open to actually seeing those around me, not just seeing past them. I’m not sure there is any divide that can’t be bridged by kindness.

I don’t know about you, but over anything else it’s what I hope people would say about me, that I was kind.

Today is dedicated to kindness. It’s World Kindness Day! So, if you see me today, prepare to be kind-bombed. I will hug you and love you and ask you how your heart is. I will shower you with compliments and questions. I will care. Because I do care.

How can you show kindness today?






Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.