World Kindness Day Is Actually a Day. It’s Soon. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Years from now (this Tuesday), after the polls close, things not named Donald Trump, Joe Biden, the Supreme Court, and human despair will begin to peek through the cracks of perpetual horror we’ve been treated to this year. In that periphery is World Kindness Day, on November 13. What a concept. If you haven’t looked it up lately, I did so you don’t have to: “Kindness” is defined, at least by the language lobby behind dictionaries, as “the quality or state of being kind” or “a kind deed.”

Some help. If you write a dictionary, don’t use the word in its own definition. The root “kind” means “of a sympathetic or helpful nature.” The earliest “kindness” in newspapers I’ve found is a 1724 use (“abundant kindness”), but it dates further to 1300, even though, like all archives, those of the news are constrained by the exclusionary practices and blind spots of the drafters of history. There’s a kindness book called The Kindness Book. It’s a children’s one. I haven’t read past page 2 because the free preview won’t let me, but pages 1 and 2 are good. I’m going to be kind to myself and lift a finger to borrow it from the library, and if I like it, buy it. There’s also a heavier lift called On Kindness, a philosophical and literary look. 

Don’t worry, kindness is not niceness. Critically skewering villains and false allies is a kindness in the public interest, and is not nice. Not-nice kindness is essential. Conversely, compliments can be misplaced and not kind, and not-kind niceness isn’t what’s meant by World Kindness Day. Sooner or later we’ll have World Contempt Day, World Grudge Day, and World Demonizing Day, and those can feel like every day. For now, mark November 13.

Share a word about kindness shown to you or by you at recharge@motherjones.com.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate