Kindness is so closely related to being Courteous yet each of these points of the Scout Law has their own distinction.
It seems that Kindness is more aligned with the whole "Golden Rule" of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. My grandmother used to tell us, "If you can't be kind, then be quiet." She was right.
It's a really simple thing to do -- to be kind. To do something out of kindness and for no other reason... is a heart thing.
...is a character thing.
...is a Scout thing.
Kindness is universal. It costs nothing. It can mean everything.
You either treat others with kindness, or you go through life oblivious to anything greater than yourself.
The Scout handbook states that "A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing."
Can you imagine living in a world where people sought out with great intention the act of BEING KIND moreso than being right or first or the winner? Being kind is really... doing the right thing. Funny how those words can be interchangeable: Obeying the law is the right thing. Using your manners is the right thing. Treating others with respect is the right thing. Leaving things better than you found it is the right thing. Kindness is the right thing.
The Boy Scout Trail states:
Kindness should be first practiced by a Scout in his own home. It can be a difficult challenge to show kindness to those in your family. Whether it be irritating siblings or misunderstanding parents, making constant efforts to be kind to those people with whom you have a conflict is hard work. Each of us is bound to fail some times, especially when we are in such close quarters for such a large part of our time. At those times of failing to be kind, kindness can still make a comeback through sincere apologies and forgiveness. The point of 'Forgiveness' is not in the Scout Law, but it is a real demonstration of kindness.
It's much easier to be kind to friends, teammates, other scouts, and family acquaintances that are seen occasionally. There is less personal commitment and less intimacy so it is less work to overlook their shortcomings and differences in beliefs and behaviors. Still, a Scout needs to demonstrate kindness to these people in order to build friendships and strengthen his character. Typically, showing kindness to these people results in a response of similar kindness in return.
Think about all of the right things that are kind! Leaving no trace is the right thing but it's also being kind. It's being kind to those who come after you. It's being kind to nature... our environment... our parks... our green spaces... Obviously the tree you choose not to carve on isn't going to say thank you, but you can bet that your act of kindness toward nature will be something that everyone who comes after you will appreciate because it stays unmarred.
Choosing to be kind rather than to be right shows what's in your heart. Maintaining a gentle disposition when someone is really pushing your buttons doesn't show weakness, it shows kindness (and self-control, but that's a whole other can of worms). For in the end, the one thing you do have control over is your response and your level of kindness.
How about the idea of an RAK? A Random Act of Kindness. To complete an RAK is to look for ways to completely brighten someone else's day without recognition or expectation. It's to look for an opportunity to pay it forward... Do this AND let your children see you do it! Plant the seeds of kindness in their hearts! Buzzfeed had an article with 101 Easy Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness. Click the image below to be taken to that.
Kindness is an outer expression of the inner workings of your heart. It takes guts to be kind. Scouts can do hard things, you just have to give them the chance. Maya Angelou said it best. To be given kindness... is an amazing feeling!