Sometimes we find ourselves wandering through life, beaten down by the terrible things we see on the news, disheartened by the mean things people say to us, hurt by the nastiness we see in the world every day. Sometimes we just feel tired and wonder what it’s all for. And then something comes along that makes us realize that every day has meaning, that every word that comes out of our mouths is a chance to change someone’s life. A Short Course in Kindness by Margot Silk Forrest is one of those things that comes along and lightens your load along with opening your eyes.
In her small, 124-page book, Forrest is able to convey her feelings about kindness, give examples of small acts of kindness that have changed lives, and convince the reader that, as she says, “kindness is a revolution whose time has come”. It would be difficult to accept the concepts of kindness that Forrest proposes if the author was someone who had never experienced the cruel ways of the world, someone who has only been shown kindness throughout her life. However, Forrest isn’t shy in telling us that she has experienced enormous cruelty in her life, has been bogged down by depression, and has come around to see that kindness is not something you should just expect from others -— it is something you must offer.
Each of the 13 chapters in this remarkable little book begins with a true story of kindness that either the author has experienced herself or has been made aware of by her readers, or those to whom she speaks, or mentors (as well as being an author, Margot is also a public speaker and a mentor to those who want to express themselves through writing). The stories work effectively to draw the reader in, then treat them to a lesson that always hits home. By the end of the book, it’s impossible not to see your fellow human beings in a different light.
In today’s world, kindness is not a concept often encountered. On any given day, we experience jealousy, harshness, disinterest and apathy. We internalize these actions and often end up recycling them and aiming them at our friends, family, or strangers on the street. How often do we see the kind acts that happen every day, in everyone’s life? And, more importantly, how often do we take the initiative and create that kindness ourselves? Margot Silk Forrest’s book will make you ask yourself these questions and, more importantly, will make you want to start changing the world, one kind act at a time.