Alexander Averin

Friday, 6 July 2007

Only kindness matters

Dear Diary,

In the end only kindness matters.

I start off gently but be prepared there will be quite a bit of ranting to come.

I’ve posted a few pics by a favourite of artist of mine - Carl Larsson. I hope you like them as much as me. I also found the picture of a woman and child on a blog out in the ether as I was surfing round looking for Larsson pics. The blogger had got it from another blog but didn’t know the artist. As I think it is such a divine pic can anyone recognise it and tell me the artist? (UPL are you out there?).

As I enjoy my honeyed tea in bed this morning I hear the Chairman of British Beekeepers on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Programme. They are asking for financial help towards the funding of research on the terrible bee disease(s) that are sweeping the USA. As I have written before, the human race would only survive for a very short time if there were no bees so I would consider it a priority for the government to contribute. M has just reminded me that there also other insects that pollinate, as well as breeze and the winds that carry pollen from one flower to another. And gardeners in greenhouses used to/still do use a feather for the purpose. He is a mine of information that man but then he was a country boy, unlike me; I was brought up in ‘The Smoke’.

I do hope the government cough up the money to save the bee. So much ‘rubbish research’ is churned out and fed to us daily as some survey or other that has revealed this, that or the other. Things like ‘it has been discovered that fat people are fat because they eat more than thin people’ and ‘children who learn phonics, a for apple, b for bat etc can actually learn to read’ (doh!).

Talking of waste of monies and senseless research I hear also on the ‘Today’ programme that £30 million pounds is to be spent by the government, given to schools to improve the manners of children! There will be a subject in the curriculum called ‘Social and Emotional Aspects’ that will cover such aspects as anger, conflict and anxiety. The ’subject’ will be delivered alongside football for example (teamwork!) and English Literature (learning about characters and how they cope!). Wasn’t it ever thus? How does £30 million provide this? Apart from the obvious I suppose that is the tier(s) of management, administration and paperwork involved. And don’t forget the extra workload on the poor teachers, even more forms to fill in, more tests maybe?? Grades for kindness? I am not joking Big Brother is everywhere it seems. Don’t get me started.

I have just looked up ‘manners’ in my dear old 1964 Concise Oxford Dictionary. Makes interesting reading; I love this book as it contains words that no-one uses or has even heard of these days. ‘Old fashioned dignity’ is one definition of manners. ‘Dignity’; now there’s a lovely word, I must add it to my list. ‘Habits indicating good breeding’ is another!! In fact a lot of it says manners come with birth…. Or not! Now there’s a good talking point!! That implies they cannot be taught!! God help us.

I would prefer to use the word kindness and consideration for others’ feelings. Being respectful. I have always found when working with children (which I have in past lives and still do in the library) that if you give them respect and treat them as equals, that is don’t talk down to them, they will give the same back to you. Not rocket science and shouldn’t cost £30 million pounds. And don’t tell me it necessarily comes from the home as I didn’t learn anything from my upbringing - but that’s another story.

The pupils in the primary school that is attached to the library/community hall are all well-mannered and polite and the school hasn’t been granted loadsamoney to bring this about/instill in them. Any teacher worth her/his salt will teach these qualities by example if nothing else.

As Fred Astaire said

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any

I ordered two books this week that Exmoor Jane recommended, I got them second-hand-but-like-new on Amazon. A Year to Live by Stephen Levine and A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith. I’ve started reading both. (I always have several books on the go). I am not a member of any religion but am very interested in Quakerism, in fact I am sure I was one in a past life in New England. I have a reason to think that, which I may blog about one day.

Blessings today?

Common Sense.

Where is it hiding these days?


There must be one because the sun is shining and there is soft rain. There must be a rainbow somewhere…………….


I’m finding good links on the blogs that are so satisfying to discover. Good sites/businesses that come with a recommendation.


We have had so much rain but miraculously our river is not rising too high. Hope I am not tempting Providence writing that…

John Humphreys and Terry Wogan

Funny mixture I know but both help me to get my show on the road in the morning. One wakes up my mind and later on one lifts my mood with music and Terry has a good Irish sense of humour too.

Well I must get this day started. I have some painting to do, not the arty kind, just touch-ups around the cottage. Too wet to paint outside and that needs doing too. So I’m off to buy some paint and get a few supplies. Then home to create, more of my writing course work to do and some more work on the family tree. I am stuck in Ireland at the moment….anyone reading from Clonakilty?

Nearly forgot I haven’t posted a much-needed poem. Song lyrics today, will that do?


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

Lyrics from the lovely song by Jewel. I think I have it on one of my play lists but I will check/move it over to the Purplecoo list for you today.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. The Dalai Llama 1935-

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again
. Ettienne de Grellet

Have a good Friday,

Bye for now,


ChrisH said...

Completely agree. if we cannot show kindness than why are we here?

Elizabethd said...

I wonder if our government wil ever realise that one needs to attack the Cause rather than the Symptoms.
Start with parents, fewer American TV shows, fewer violent comics, rap songs that are disrespectful.....etc. What role models have our children got today??

bradan said...

Yes Cait, kindness is so important and also respect. I agree with you that chhildren have to be shown respect from adults for them to learn it, but it infuriates me when children show good manners and respect and adults don't!
I also, like you, have asked Frances if she has Irish connections. Are you from around the Cork area? My family roots are in Roscommon and Westmeath.

Frances said...

Hello Cait,
Just a quick reply from me this morning. I don't know of any Irish ancestry, but my family has lived in Virginia for many generations, so way back when ... perhaps someone did take a long voyage.

Also like Carl Larsson's art. I saw an extensive exhibit at the V&A maybe 10 years ago. There was a recreation of the breakfast room (think it was that room,) lots of drawings and paintings and even home movies.

I learned that he suffered from depression, which I would not have gathered from his pictures!


The Country Craft Angel said...

I totally agree.

By co-incidence both my boys teachers commented about their kindness on their recent parents evenings/reports. To me it meant such a lot to hear of two boys-one 6 and one 14 being called kind. It is an admirable quality.

And I always tell them they should "treat people as you would like to be treated..."

warm wishes

Anonymous said...

Another lovely blog. Manners go a long way, as does kindness, consideration and generosity. These are all aspects of life which can be taught by teachers during a childs' school life. I can't believe that 30mil is being spent to try to improve this. I actually think it's rather insulting to hard working teachers who try day in, day out to do their best and help children who get little help at home.

Crystal xx

Pondside said...

It was a treat to open your blog this morning and to see the Carl Larsen paintings. They are among my favorite.
Manners - don't get me started!! I really believe that manners will never make a return to the general population until the culture of entitlement and me-ism fades. Good manners imply a concern for others - they're not just 'icing on the peronality cake'. Of course they can be taught, but the lesson will never stick as long as societies encourage the me-first attitude. I think that a good start would be less emphasis on each child encouraged to feel good about inferior work and more emphasis on appreciating/caring for one another.

FunkyMunky said...

I think manners are making a comeback - in my part of the world at least. Our neighbours have a teenage son and though we don't know him very well, he always makes a point of saying hello to my daughter when he sees her and always calls her by name. I think it's lovely. There are several teenagers around here and they are generally polite.
Every parent I've spoken to says how important it is to teach their children manners, so I'm hopeful (though not necessarily confident) that things may change in the near future!

I believe one of the problems with regard to respect is that many adults do not appear to respect themselves so again children follow the example and after all, how can one respect anyone else if they don't respect themselves??

Loved your blog - very thought provoking. I hadn't heard of Carl Larsson before but I'll check him out now i've seen those pictures. They're lovely!

Paul and Val Mann said...


Afraid common sense isn't a commodity that is required today. I (paul) work as a civil servant and I can testify to the fact that common sense belongs in the past.
Not sure why we have to lay out a load of cash to teach manners, I live in a city and find if kids are treated with respect that is, with some exceptions, what you get back.
Nice blog - my first visit. My wife (val) is calling me as a cuppa beckons.
Look after yourself.
Paul and Val

snailbeachshepherdess said...

I love to see a child remembering hard to do 'it' right. My boys all looked at me once as we sat in a cafe somewhere and there was a very bad display of manners on a nearby table...loud whisper erupted....'muuuum aren't you going to give a 'death look' to that boy?'