I always loved the story of someone asking the Dalai Lama for his philosophy. The questioner settled down to listen to a long address. The Dalai Lama said quietly, ‘Be kind’. That was it.
‘Being kind and considerate’ is one of the sections a colleague marked up for me in a book she really likes, the Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook: Little Exercises for an Intuitive Life. Author Gill Hasson quotes Maya Angelou: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
‘Being kind and considerate means making the effort to think how others might be feeling and how your behaviour can make a positive impact,’ says Gill. ‘Doing something to benefit someone else can make both of you feel good and also help you to develop empathy,’ she writes.
Putting kindness into action can be simple, as Gill explains:
• Anticipate what others might need. If you are meeting a friend and it’s raining, bring an extra umbrella. Fetch a coffee for a colleague who is bogged down with work.
• Be considerate of others in public. Keep your voice low when you are on your mobile. Smile at a tired commuter. Help a harassed-looking parent lift a pushchair up stairs.
• Don’t monopolise conversations. Ask what other people think and how they’re feeling.
• Think of someone who is lonely, unwell or worried. You don’t have to rescue them, just make a thoughtful gesture such as a phone call or text, take a bunch of flowers or meet for coffee.
• Be considerate of other people’s finances. If they don’t have much money, don’t organise expensive outings unless it’s your treat. Suggest inexpensive pleasures.
•Be punctual. One of the most inconsiderate things you can do is to act as if your time is more important than someone else’s.
• Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook by Gill Hasson is published by Capstone Publishing/£8.99
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A simple way to persuade children to eat more vegetables is to get them to grow their own. Now is the perfect time to plant them so they are ready for the summer holidays. My go-to supplier is Rocket Gardens, which offers a Family Favourites Veg Patch/£34.99 at rocketgardens.co.uk) that can be grown in pots, containers, grow bags, raised beds or an eight-metre-square patch.
The box, which comes with full growing instructions, contains a marvellous array of baby plants, such as mixed leaves, beetroot, courgette, seed potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peas, spinach, cucumber, leeks, green beans and more.
Jo Wood, one of our favourite organic evangelists, is giving a Rocket Gardens box to her granddaughters Maggie, seven, and Lola, 11. ‘I have always grown most of my vegetables and this is a lovely way to get them started,’ she says.
By the way, for readers who prefer all-natural fragrances free of synthetic chemicals, Jo Wood Organics’s fresh, flowery Amka Eau de Toilette/£59, is perfect for summer, as is Amka Body Oil/£39 – both at jowoodorganics.com). Jo’s products are certified organic by Ecocert.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: www.ssafa.com
SSAFA, the armed forces charity, is taking bookings for this year’s Short Break for forces families who have a child aged eight to 14 with an additional need or disability, from 29th July to 4th August at Calvert Trust Exmoor in Devon. To apply for a break or find out about volunteering opportunities for this worthwhile charity, visit the website or contact Hannah Wiltshire (click here to e-mail her/020- 7463 9275). I know from a neighbour who volunteers for SSAFA what good work it does providing lifelong support for veterans and those currently serving both full time and in reserve.