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Kindness is not one isolated deed

A health visitor and a senior woman in wheelchair with a present at home at Christmas time.
Halfpoint/Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's not just a moment.

It's a way of relating to people. Most of us are not able to do this out of instinct. When you're driving and someone pulls in front of you, kindness is not your first impulse. In our day-to-day encounters with our family, responding with kindness is not always easy. Kindness is a learned response that comes from choosing it and practicing it, even when people do stupid things. When things don't go well, the ability to respond to another person with tenderness requires enormous discipline. And when we have an impulse toward kindness, it is too easy to talk ourselves out of acting on it. A sincere compliment crosses our minds but never passes our lips. Before we know it, rather than being a virtue that characterizes the way we live, kindness becomes a chore we have to schedule. The Christmas season is a good example of when we get too busy to be a kind person. As a result, we damage our own health as well as those around us. I hope you will practice the discipline of kindness on a daily basis, starting with how you treat yourself.

This is Dr. Scott Morris for Church Health.

Dr. G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div, is founder and CEO of Church Health, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable health care for working, uninsured or underserved people and their families. In FY2021, Church Health had over 61,300 patient visits. Dr. Morris has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University, and M.D. from Emory University. He is a board-certified family practice physician and an ordained United Methodist minister.