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TIME The Power of Kindness

TIME The Power of Kindness

TIME The Power of Kindness
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Kindness comes in many forms. From larger, purposeful acts such as volunteering to smaller acts such as striking up a conversation with neighbors new to the block. Kindness can be more than a warm feeling—it can be a meaningful lifestyle that can have a transformative impact on all areas of our lives. This special edition from the editors of TIME delves into the concept and practice of kindness. Kindness is teachable and attainable, but why are we kind? Why are some people kinder than others? And why does kindness matter. Highlights include: How kindness can lead to a more successful life, teaching your kids to be kind, the art of being kind to yourself, the science of kindness and much more.

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United States
Meredith Corporation

in this issue

4 min.
the candle of kindness

DON’T BELIEVE what you’ve always been told about kindness coming for free. “Be nice,” people say. “It costs you nothing.” To which evolution says: “Spare me.” ¶ The world is a pitiless place—with limited resources and a scramble to survive and the red-in-tooth-and-claw savagery of it all. If you’re going to make it out alive, you’ve got to fight for what’s yours. Every dollar you spend or calorie you burn or hour you lose that’s not devoted to you and your immediate gene pool is a dollar or calorie or hour wasted. So evolution makes us selfish, and evolution makes us greedy, and evolution makes us…makes us…who are we kidding? It makes us kind too. We are a species that is defined by our contradictions—bloodlust and charity, ugliness and empathy, a…

15 min.
the evolution of kindness

In October 1965, Chicago-born Milton Olive III and other members of the U.S. Army’s Company B 3rd Platoon encountered heavy gunfire in the jungle of Phu Cuong, Vietnam. After his unit survived the barrage and began to push forward, Olive, who was 18 years old, was fighting alongside four other soldiers when a hand grenade landed in their midst. He smothered the grenade with his body—sacrificing his life but saving the lives of his companions. Olive was the Vietnam War’s first African-American Medal of Honor recipient. Olive’s death is an example of “altruistic suicide”—a term for the actions of those who give their lives to save others. While his sacrifice was extraordinary, it is not unique. According to military records, dozens of Medal of Honor recipients have died shielding their fellow…

12 min.
the feral child

recently, I was flipping through the journals I had kept about my kids in their early years, before life took over and the meticulous chronicling of milestones and funny phrases went on hiatus. In writing about my oldest, who was 4 at the time, I noted how quick he was to grab his little sister’s hand to help her cross the street safely but much slower to spring into action when she would take a tumble. He’d stand there watching her cry, unsure what to do. “It’s hard for you to show empathy,” I wrote. Cringe. Was I raising a sociopath? When it comes to traits that parents hope to imbue in their children, empathy ranks high. Fortunately, empathy—the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and understand their experiences and…

10 min.
when it all goes awry

imagine that you’ve volunteered for a scientific study. The purpose of the research is to measure the effect of punishment on learning and memory. Your role, an investigator tells you, will be to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to another volunteer each time he or she gives an incorrect answer to a series of wordpair questions. You watch as your fellow volunteer is strapped into an electroshock chair. You’re guided to another room where you can hear—but not see—the person in the chair. The researcher departs, and the experiment begins. You read out questions and administer mild shocks. After a while, your counterpart’s incorrect answers start to accumulate. The shocks grow stronger, and the person begins protesting and even crying out in pain. Using an intercom, you voice your discomfort to…

9 min.
kindness in critters

A 12-year-old girl in Ethiopia made headlines some years ago when she was reportedly protected by lions. A group of seven men had abducted the girl with the intention of forcing her into marriage, police sergeant Wondimu Wedajo, who helped find the child, told the Associated Press in the wake of the abduction. When the police discovered the girl after a weeklong search, she was being guarded by a pride of lions. “They stood guard [for half a day] until [police and family] found her, and then they just left her like a gift,” said Wedajo of the 2005 case. “If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse.” The girl told the police she had been beaten by her abductors, but no harm…

9 min.
the great philanthropists

Derived from the Greek word philan thropia, philanthropy represents “love of mankind,” an impulse as old as time, practiced by celebrated public figures and everyday citizens. It strives to impart kindness individually and globally, often in areas such as public health, education, scientific research and human rights. Philanthropy’s history is extensive, but in modern times, it has been most famously represented by noteworthy figures who built their wealth through different paths and then used it for the common good. From tech giants to investing gurus to equality activists, here are some of the most prominent philanthropists in modern history. GEORGE PEABODY Born in Danvers, Mass., in 1795, George Peabody made his fortune as a merchant and financier. The third of eight children in a working-class family, he received only four years of…