Amidst The Negativity And Chaos Of Our World, Look For Kindness

RADA | Kindness


Bolster your holiday spirit by focusing less on the troubles in our world and more on acts of kindness around you.

In this episode, our dear host Dr. Tim Jordan talks about the impact of kindness, especially in the face of overwhelming negativity. He shares compelling stories that remind us of the innate goodness within humanity like a story inspired by Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, showing us the essence of true friendship in difficult times. Examine the meaningful connection between a child’s innocence and their capacity to provide unwavering support, reflecting Mr. Rogers’ timeless wisdom. Let’s make the world a little brighter, one act of kindness at a time. Tune in now!

Previous podcast by Dr. Jordan: Humans Are Naturally Good, But Institutions Make Us Wicked

Listen to the podcast here


Amidst The Negativity And Chaos Of Our World, Look For Kindness

Welcome back. I am glad you stopped by here every week to tune into this show. The holidays are around the corner. As I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about this week, I decided to talk about looking for kindness. I read some research from a book called Humankind that I read a few years ago. It’s a great book. I did an episode about it.

One piece of research that they showed in the book was that the disaster research at the University of Delaware found that in 700 studies of disasters since 1963, what people expected to happen after a disaster did not occur. There wasn’t mayhem. Usually, the crime went down. What they found was that adversity from the disaster caused people to start to cooperate more, collaborate, and help each other out. That goes against our thinking that we’re more like the Lord of the Flies kind of people from the book Lord of the Flies, where we’re always after our best interests. That’s not often true.

I also saw research that showed that the hunter-gatherer societies had war. They had fought like that. There are thousands of cave paintings that show hunting bison, riding horses, and gazelle. In all those paintings on those walls in the caves, there’s not one depiction of war. Those nomadic foragers from a long time ago hated inequality. They used to use shame to keep the members humble and generous. If someone was not humble and generous, oftentimes, they would get kicked out of the tribe. They were less likely to find a mate and reproduce. Thus, their genes were not passed on.

We are kind people by nature. That includes kids. I saw some studies that kids as young as 3 and 4 if given a cake will automatically divide it equally among the friends who are with them, which is interesting. I saw a study too that by six years of age, if they’re given a cake to divide up, they would rather throw a piece of the pie away rather than let one person have more than the rest. Even kids, probably mostly kids, are generous and kind by nature.

With all the violence on the news these days, the wars in several different places, and the wars going on in our Congress, it’s a very chaotic and angry time in our history. I always go back to what I heard from Mr. Rogers. He always said this, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mom would say to me, ‘Always look for the helpers. Always find people who are helping.’” Mr. Rogers said, “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mom’s words. I’m always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers and so many caring people in this world.”

For this episode, in this holiday season, I’m going to switch the words a little bit and say, with all that stuff going on, first of all, turn off the news. Secondly, look for people who are kind. We’re not seeing kind words. We do not see kind actions very often in the news, so it’s our responsibility perhaps to start looking for it in the world around us. I’m going to tell you some stories of some people who are kind that will hopefully bolster your holiday spirit.


RADA | Kindness


This is about a little boy many years ago. The little boy went into a store. It was like an ice cream shop. He sat down and went over. She said, “What would you like?” He said, “How much is an ice cream sundae?” The waitress said, “$0.35.” The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. This states the story, change. He’s counting it. He said, “How much is plain ice cream?” The waitress gave an impatient look and said, “The sundae is $0.50. The ice cream is $0.35.” The boy looked at his coins again and counted them. He said, “Bring me the plain ice cream, please.”

A few minutes later, she brought the ice cream, sat down with the bill, and then walked away. The little boy ate the ice cream and then walked out. When the waitress went back over to where he had been seated, she picked up the empty bowl of ice cream and swallowed hard at what she saw. There stacked very neatly beside the empty dish were 2 nickels and 5 pennies, her tip. What a great story of generosity. Sometimes, we doubt that kids are generous. We don’t look for that, but when we do, there it is.

Sometimes, we doubt that kids are generous. We don't look for that. But when we do, there it is. Click To Tweet

I heard another story about a young girl one time who had a birthday. She had a big wad of birthday money. She went to a toy store to use her money and buy something for herself. She went with her dad. She found a doll that she fell in love with. Before she took it to the counter, she walked up to the clerk and said, “How much money is this doll? Do I have enough?” The woman said, “Yes, you do.”

As she was walking back, she noticed a little boy who was looking at some games. He had a worried look on his face. This little boy asked the clerk about how much that game costs. The woman said, “How much money do you have?” He told her and she said, “You don’t have enough money to buy the game.” The little boy looked crestfallen. The girl was watching all of this and it upset her. She put her doll back down, grabbed the game without the little boy noticing, went to the counter, paid for it, and told the woman, “Please put it behind the counter. When the little boy comes up, I want him to have a surprise.”

A few minutes later, the boy walked up and he had a package of gum or something. The woman said, “Congratulations. You are the winner of a prize. We do this once a day.” She pulled out the game and gave it to the little boy. He was ecstatic. He was so excited. The little girl’s dad had noticed all this. He turned to her and said, “Why did you do that? I’m surprised. I know how much you wanted that doll.” She said, “My grandma and grandpa told me they wanted me to buy something that would make me happy. This is what made me happy.” What a kind gesture that was.

I heard about this little girl in school. Her name was Sally. There was a brand new teacher. She felt sorry for her because the kids were acting up. This new teacher was trying to make use of some of her psychology classes in college. She started her class by saying, “Everybody who thinks that they’re stupid, please stand up.” All the kids looked around like, “This is weird.” Finally, little Sally stood up. The teacher said, “Do you think you’re stupid?” Sally looked at the teacher and said, “No, ma’am, I don’t, but I’d hate to see you up there standing there all by yourself.” It was a moment of kindness and a moment of grace.

Here is another good story. There was an elderly man who was waiting in the doctor’s office to have some stitches removed. He had cut his thumb. He told the receptionist twice that he was in a hurry and if the doctor could put him in sooner, so they did. The doctor took him in to evaluate the wound. He saw that it was healed and was taking out the sutures. He asked the man if he had another doctor’s appointment to go to that he was in a hurry for. The man said, “No. I want to get to the nursing home and have breakfast with my wife.” The doctor said, “What’s she there for?” He said, “She has severe Alzheimer’s. She’s been in there a long time.”

The doctor said, “If you’re late, would she know who you are? Would she remember that you’re coming?” He said, “I go there every morning, but she doesn’t remember who I am anymore. She hasn’t for a long time.” The doctor said, “You go there every morning even though she doesn’t know who you are.” The man smiled at the doctor and said, “She doesn’t remember me, but I still know her.” It’s those little acts of kindness and love that we need to start paying more attention to when all around us in the world, there are all kinds of chaos and things going on.

I saw a story about Winnie the Pooh. Somebody sent it to me. I want to read it to you. It’s a very sweet story, and then I’ll end with one more. The story goes like this. It had occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore in a while. They put on their hats and coats and tried to cross the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s house.

Inside the house was Eeyore. “Hey, Eeyore,” said Pooh. “Hey, Pooh. Hello, Piglet,” said Eeyore in a glum-sounding voice. They said, “We thought we’d check on you because we hadn’t seen you for a while. We haven’t heard from you. We wanted to know if you’re okay.” Eeyore was quiet for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked eventually. “I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you is that right now, I feel rather sad, alone, and not much fun to be around at all. That’s why I haven’t bothered you. You don’t want to waste time hanging out with somebody who’s sad, alone, and not much fun to be around, would you?” said Eeyore.

Pooh looked at Piglet and Piglet looked at Pooh. They both sat down on either side in the stick house. Eeyore looked at them in surprise. He said, “What are you doing?” Pooh said, “We’re going to be sitting here with you because we’re your friends. True friends don’t care if someone is feeling sad, alone, or not much fun to be around. True friends are there for you anyway, so here we are. “Oh,” said Eeyore. The three of them sat there in silence. While Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all, somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a little bit better because Pooh and Piglet were there, no more, no less.

The next story reminds me of a book I read at camp sometimes. It’s called The Rabbit Listened. It’s about this little boy who builds this cool Lego thing. Somehow, some birds fly through his backyard and knock it down. He gets frustrated. He’s sitting there steaming and all these different animals come to try and help him out to express his feelings. A bear comes and says, “Growl like this.” The little boy says, “I don’t feel like being angry right now.” Another animal came by and said, “You should start crying like this.” He’s like, “I don’t feel like doing that.” He was getting more frustrated.

The animals kept getting frustrated with him until finally, this little bunny rabbit came hopping up, sat down next to him, and didn’t say a word. It sat there and listened. After a little while, the little boy started to feel better. He started expressing his feelings to the rabbit and the rabbit listened. After a little while, the little boy felt so good. He started to build his new tower back again. The book is called The Rabbit Listened. That rabbit offered a beautiful act of kindness.

When you get overwhelmed sometimes with all the negativity around you that might be in your family during the holiday season or from watching the news, listening to the news, reading the news, hearing about Congress, or what’s going on with gossip and things with some of your friends, I would suggest that you look to children for their innocence and their kindness. They have it in abundance. It’s less layered over, if you will.

RADA | Kindness
Kindness: Look to children for their innocence and their kindness because they have it in abundance. It’s less layered over if you will.


Let me tell you two quick stories, and I promise I’ll stop. The first one involves Mr. Rogers indirectly. There’s a dad who was putting his young son to bed one night. The son said out of the blue, “Dad, I don’t think Mr. Rogers poops.” The dad said, “Of course, he does, son” The little boy said, “No, he doesn’t.” The dad said, “Why do you think he doesn’t poop?” He said, “I’ve never seen him poop.” The dad said to the little boy, “There are lots of people who you haven’t seen poop, but they all do.”

This little boy begrudgingly accepted that perhaps other people did it, but with Mr. Rogers, he couldn’t accept that. Dad finally kissed him goodnight and left the room. Five minutes later, his son called out to him, “Dad,” so Dad walked back into the room. He said, “I know Mr. Rogers does not poop.” His dad said, “How do you know that?” The little boy said, “Because I’ve seen his house. All he has is a closet, a living room, a kitchen, a yard, and no bathroom.” The innocence of children.

This is last but not least one of my favorite stories. I’ve been telling it in talks for a long time. It’s a true story. There was a Special Olympics that was going on with young kids. At one point, there were ten runners who were lined up at the starting blocks to run the 100-yard dash. All of them were motivated to run the race and finish the race. They wanted to win.

The gun sounded and they all took off from the starting blocks, all of them except one little girl who tripped and fell over. She sat there crying because she had skinned her knee. All of the other runners noticed that. They stopped running and all nine of them walked back to her. One boy reached down to help her up. Another girl told her, “It’s okay. You’ll be okay.” All ten of the kids linked arms together and walked across the finish line together. It was said that the cheering went on for ten minutes.

There are lots of acts of kindness in this world besides the other stuff. There are acts of kindness in your family. There are acts of kindness among your friends. I would have my focus be on looking for those instead of being inundated with the incessant negative news cycle. Those acts of kindness that you can notice and/or do and participate in are the ones that will raise your spirit in this holiday season. Those are the ones that will keep you not only sane but positive, happy, and loving.

Mr. Rogers’s mom told him to look for the helpers. I’m encouraging you to look for people who are kind and especially look for kids who show acts of kindness. Happy holidays to you all. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back here soon with another episode of the show. Thanks so much for being here every week and also for passing these on to your friends. Once again, happy holidays.


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