Kindness is complex to define, but simple to recognize. Kindness is something we value in others and aspire to ourselves. Kindness respects and helps others without waiting for others to help back.
Those are just a few of the many definitions and explanations found when researching the meaning of kindness. It is an attribute almost universally admired and applauded.
Next week, the Grunion will explore the phenomenon in a publication called Kindness.
There are more than 400 nonprofit entities in Long Beach, most with kindness as a bedrock principle. What else could you call a doctor mentoring at-risk students up to and through college? A free preschool for homeless children? A health clinic for those who can't afford healthcare? A shelter and counseling service for victims of domestic abuse?
The list goes on. In fact, that was one of the hardest parts of planning the Grunion's new Kindness special section.
"There are so many stories of people doing good, helping others in Long Beach," Grunion Publisher Simon Grieve said. "It is very difficult to choose just a few to shine a spotlight on. I'm pleased to say I think we have a very representative group of subjects in our first effort to tell the story of what's good about Long Beach. And I think our readers will agree."
It is no coincidence that Kindness will appear less than a month before the inaugural Long Beach Gives, a 24-hour citywide fundraiser designed to help those whose business it is to show kindness to others. Stories of kindness have shown a tendency to prompt more acts of kindness.
"In this age of what can only be called mean-spirited divisiveness, it is important to remember that most people are overwhelmingly good, and are doing good things," Grieve said. "When you read these stories, it will help restore your faith in humankind, even if only by a little bit."
The section itself had to rely on a little kindness to get off the ground. The Port of Long Beach agreed to be the title sponsor, underwriting a significant portion of production costs. Many others, including Long Beach's own Nonprofit Partnership, have come on board as well.
Kindness will have almost a dozen stories about some of the good things being done in our town. It will be inserted in the Grunion Gazette, and available as a stand-alone publication as well.
Look for it next Thursday, Aug. 29.