A few days ago when I was visiting my mother in hospital she accused me of making life difficult for her because the ambulance took six hours to attend her after she fell and broke her hip and it was my fault. If I’d lied and said she was bleeding or not breathing then it would have arrived sooner and she wouldn’t have had to suffer for so long. I was livid. Was I supposed to lie and put another person’s life at risk who may not actually have been breathing? I opened my mouth to retort and then thought the better of it. I’d recently been sent David Friedman’s We Can Be Kind for review with an extract that I’m sharing with you today. Having read the extract (though I haven’t read the whole book yet) I realised Mum didn’t mean it. She was about to be released from hospital and was scared of the future. So, following the advice in We Can Be Kind, I didn’t say what I was thinking!
Published by Mango on 27th October 2017 We Can Be Kind is available for purchase here.
We Can Be Kind
One Kindness at a Time
Be kind: The world is changing at lightening speed, and meaningful connections are increasingly elusive. David Friedman, creator of the hit song “We Can Be Kind” offers a powerful reminder of how we need to treat each other, from children to family to coworkers as well as strangers, neighbors and those across the political aisle. Through story, meditation and suggestions of kindness, Friedman encourages us to create new ways of building community. Through the practice of kindness, we become most fully connected, alive, and integrated.
Practicing The Golden Rule: The past few years have shown us what it is like to live in a less caring world. David Friedman’s advocacy for treating each other better and applying the Golden Rule is an idea whose time has come. His deeply thoughtful handbook for the heart brings it all home with simple suggestions of how to be kinder and why it is more important than ever now.
Compassion and empathy: We Can Be Kind is a course in compassion from a beloved composer for Disney Films and Broadway, Daily Show regular, and Unity Church spiritual leader. The book provides:
- Lessons on the value of kindness
- Inspiring meditations
- Daily affirmations
- Essential truths
An Extract from We Can Be Kind
A Small Incident Inspires a Universal Song
There was an annual benefit event in New York City called In Celebration of Life, where composers were paired up with singers. The composers were each asked to write a new song that in some way pertained to healing, and the singers performed these songs in a concert that was given at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The AIDS crisis was in full swing, so many of the songs that were written and performed had to do with AIDS. Now if anything qualified as something devastating that could not be controlled, it was AIDS. People across the world were getting sick and dying, and nobody seemed to know anything about how the disease could be cured. In their helplessness, people expressed themselves in whatever ways they could. They talked about it. They sang about it. They raised money for research. What that evening did, alongside so many other performances, research projects, books, speeches, etc., was raise consciousness and open people’s minds to the idea that there had to be a cure. By becoming vocal about it, more and more people became open to this idea. The disease was no less terrifying, but these community expressions gave people hope and the sense that they were not alone.
Each year, the concert closed with Nancy LaMott singing a new song I had written for her. This particular year, I asked Nancy what she wanted me to write about, and she said, “I was getting on the bus this morning, and this woman in front of me was so nasty! Could you write a song about how people should be nicer to each other?” And so, out of that little incident, out of one of those “little” hurts that happen every day, I wrote this song which has ended up being sung around the world for all sorts of causes, big and small.
We Can Be Kind to Ourselves
When you notice that something hurtful has happened, see if you can simply register that it has happened and allow yourself to feel however you feel about it. Don’t fight it off. Don’t try to change it. Often, when hurtful things happen, if we don’t try to fight them off or change them, we get to get in touch with painful feelings we’ve had for a long time which we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel and process. This can be, in its own way, very healing. So before you go into action, try being kind to your “Inner Child” by being with it, giving it a chance to feel whatever it feels, and acknowledging that that feeling exists. Kindness is what our Inner Child didn’t get in the areas in which it’s still in pain. It is you and you alone who can offer this “Inner Child” the kindness it needs to heal.
We Can Be Kind in the World
- When someone in a store, in a bank, or on the street is nasty to you, see what happens if you are not nasty in return. Try to get past their behavior to see why they might be behaving that way. Are they scared? Are they angry? And then, try to offer them what you think they might need to feel better.
- You may not be able to prevent people from doing things that hurt you, but you certainly can prevent yourself from doing things that hurt others. The next time you find yourself about to do something that might hurt someone, don’t! Be kind instead and watch what happens, to them as well as inside yourself.
- Before you speak or act in any given situation, stop for a moment and think: “Am I hurting anyone by doing this?” And if you find that the action you’re about to take or the words you’re about to use would be hurtful to someone, see if you can substitute kind actions or words instead.
About David Friedman
David Friedman is a conductor and vocals arranger for Disney Classics such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas. Also, David has written songs for icons such as Diana Ross (“Your Love” Quadruple Platinum), and Barry Manilow (“We Live on Borrowed Time”). The inspiration for his book was inspired by the song with the same title, “We Can Be Kind,” written for the late Nancy Lamott.
You can listen to the song behind the book We Can Be Kind here.