Shannon Lee Mannion on Kindness Week

Lithe blonde girls in punishing heels and Rabbi Bulka

are on hand at Ottawa city hall to open Kindness Week

By Shannon Lee Mannion
Contributing Editor
True North Perspective

17 February 2012 OTTAWA Canada — Kindness Week, Ottawa, 2012. Goes from February 17 to 24 and virtually no one knows about it. Of course, the Internet's a great publicist and a few listservs carried the announcement that Jean Pigott Hall at Ottawa's City Hall would host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 am yesterday.

Present were lots of lithe blonde girls in punishing heels, children in lime-green hats and a row of men mainly from the Capital Region Interfaith Council along with the ubiquitous press, caterers and hangers-on. A few reps from the Ottawa District Labour Council were present but none of the service people we might expect to see at an event that champions playing well on the playground, for instance, the police.

Omnipresent Tim Hortons coffee, complimented by Ottawa's homegrown confection, Beaver Tails, seem to have drawn the sugar-deprived from the upper floor and other end of the hall, in addition to a couple of people who looked like hold-overs from the Occupy Ottawa encampment that had been across the street.

At one point, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, progenitor and chair of Kindness Week, spontaneously called for organizers and helpers to join him on stage and when ten or so people left the floor, the audience was considerably thinned.

Kindness Week evolved from conversations held by Rabbi Bulka and MPP for Centretown, Yasir Naqvi. Buying into what Sophocles said, “Kindness is ever the begetter of kindness,” they lobbied Queen's Park to establish this special week which coincidentally, coincides with Family Day, a relatively newly minted holiday. Ontario joins the province of Alberta and Saskatchewan in celebrating the holiday on the third Monday of February.

Kindness is always in fashion and some would say that naming a single week detracts from 51 other weeks when kindness is still fashionable. However, setting aside a week allows us to discuss the virtues and benefits of being kind.

Kindness is the slogan for the week which may have included the blood donor drive at City Hall and the Mitzvah Day at Hillel Lodge but these two activities were held the week before. An actual giving event that does take place during the week is a food drive at Tim Hortons locations and if you check the website, there is a list of Five Ways to be Kind.

These are: Give, Volunteer, Say thanks, Celebrate kindness, Pay It Forward and, above all, Choose to be Kind.

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