‘I know, “kindness” sounds soft, but it is anything but’

Arizona just made national news again. This time in a New York Times piece about the persistent harassment of congregants at the Islamic Center of Tucson by University of Arizona students who live in a large apartment complex next door.

Cue the heartache and shame that we’ve felt so many times before.

This August marks 40 years since my family arrived in Arizona. I love this place – the environment and the people – and I take it personally when I hear that we’re on the bottom of another list or the butt of another joke. And I take it really personally when I hear we’re being cruel to our own people.

We need to get serious about kindness.

I know, “kindness” sounds soft, but it is anything but. Kindness skills can be taught and practiced, and when we improve these skills, we improve every aspect of our lives. Kindness skills are vital for children’s academic success, for employee wellness and for community connection.

The 2009 Gallup Arizona Poll revealed that Arizonans highly value community connection but don’t feel connected to one another. Only 12 percent of Arizonans believe that people in their community care about one another. Ouch.


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