World Kindness Day was started by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of kindness NGOs, in 1998, and becomes bigger and better every year. With the world seemingly on fire, against a backdrop of political turmoil, climate injustice and not forgetting a global pandemic, we need Kindness now more than ever.
Our book Kindness (A User’s Guide) is a collection of essays, practical tips and quotes about Kindness. Inside, you'll find stories about a truly diverse range of characters, from Dolly Parton to the Sex Pistols, to historical figures including Harriet Tubman and Emily Hobhouse. Also, Everyday Heroes such as the Skipping Sikh. And not forgetting our four-legged friends! Caesar the No Drama Llama, and Ning Nong the Elephant are particular favourites of ours. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It might even make you angry. But above all, hopefully it will inspire you. Though it may be small of format, it’s really big of heart.
To be clear - we don’t claim any bragging rights to Kindness. (As no doubt some of our exes will attest!) We're just trying to work it all out like everyone else. Nor do we hold much truck with the performative #BeKind brigade. For us, Kindness is habitual. It’s not a shrill self-designation, but rather an ingrained behaviour, that is made stronger through practice. The key to unlocking the answer to the question ‘How to be kind’ is beautifully, maddeningly, gloriously Zen. It is to understand that Kindness is attained by being kind – habitually, graciously and without expectation of reward.
That said, we do know an act of kindness when we see one. And both authors have each been on the receiving end of extraordinary kindnesses recently. This past year has been spectacularly life-changing for both of us: Kitty was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year (on World Kindness Day, no less) and got through thanks to kindness and empathy from family, friends, colleagues and healthcare professionals. Meanwhile, after 51 years, Ali tracked down his biological father and discovered two younger sisters, who have welcomed him with open arms. Kindness saved us.
Writing and researching this book was an absolute joy, and helped us through some extremely dark times. We hope you enjoy it as much as we loved writing it. And we hope you will share our quest to spread a little kindness.
- Ali Catterall & Kitty Collins