Last December, I encouraged each of us to give the gift of kindness during the Christmas season. I also challenged us to stop using our busy schedules as an excuse for disconnected behavior. How did that go for you? Was it easy or was it a struggle?
Those aspirations aside, today, I want to talk a little more about kindness and suggest that to simply be kind is not enough.
We can kill others with kindness – we can volunteer, do random acts of kindness, help others, etc. – but if our kindness lacks a caring heart, it is worthless.
While writing my last story about modern slavery and the sex trade for Ball Bearings magazine, I had a rare interview with Shae Robison, a Ball State social work major and anti-human trafficking advocate.
Toward the end of our interview, we discussed why modern slavery persists/what it’s going to take to stop this form of organized crime. Here’s an excerpt:
LH: Why should Americans be concerned about human trafficking? How do we stop it?
SR: There are more slaves now than ever before. America has so many resources. Why aren’t we helping them? Because we don’t care… We need to start caring and love people. Why is [this issue] not nudging our hearts? I think we just have an all about me mentality. The world is not going to change if we keep thinking it’s all about us.
LH: How do you get people to care?
SR: I don’t know.
Apathy may be one of the biggest problems facing our world today. Maybe Robison is right; so if her claim is true – and it applies to more than just stopping human trafficking – why don’t we care?
Here’s what I think: Because it’s easy not to care.
It’s easy to be apathetic. It’s easy to tune out. It’s easy to separate ourselves from a problem. It’s easy to turn away. It’s easy to say “this doesn’t affect me.” It’s easy to be selfish.
To have the resources to help another means nothing without action. To show kindness means nothing without a caring heart.
Robison is right – “the world is not going to change if we keep thinking it’s all about us.”
It’s time we start caring more about things – even if that something doesn’t seem to directly affect us. It’s our responsibility to take care of this world while we are here. We need to actively participate in our communities if we want to instill change.
Question: Do you think apathy is a problem in today’s society?