Bettina sits quietly in class alongside other pupils. There is a boy sitting next to her who is becoming increasingly distressed. Without turning Bettina reaches out to him and strokes his hand, despite verbal language being a challenge for Bettina, she soothingly says “it’s ok” “it’s ok” as her school mate calms, he says “thank you Bettina”.
This is an example of Bettina’s kindness to someone else in need.
“A kind word to one in trouble is often like a switch in a railroad track….
An inch between wreck and smooth sailing”
Henry Ward Beecher
If you have previously followed the “Being Bettina’s Dad” series, you will know that Bettina has a diagnosis of autism, a learning disability, and copes with epilepsy. The traditional traits and perhaps ‘labels’ of autism are often:
- Autistic people often have difficulty ‘reading’ other people – recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions – and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard to navigate the social world. Autistic people may:
- appear to be insensitive
- seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
- not seek comfort from other people
- appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate
- find it hard to form friendships.
While some of these traits were true of Bettina in her early years, with the support and love of her family, and a wonderful school https://www.marketfieldschool.co.uk/ her personality constantly shines through, breaking through those stereotypes. Bettina’s qualities of being gentle, caring, and helpful, light up the worlds of people who come into contact with her and her acts of kindness are long lasting in their memories.
Bettina’s kindness is given for free, there are no conditions, and she has no expectations of favours in return.
5 random acts of kindness Bettina spontaneously makes:
- Bettina is incredibly polite: “how are you Bettina?” “I am fine thank you” I have known people to go out of their way to ask Bettina how she is, just to get this response.
- Bettina senses when you are worried or upset and puts her arm around you. There have been times when Bettina has kissed my arm when I wasn’t expecting it and for me the world feels right again.
- Recently on a trip together in Frinton-on-Sea, a horse fly bit my face, just under my eye and I was even more shocked when Bettina stopped, put her arm around me and steered me towards a bench to recover my composure. In a moment our roles were reversed, and Bettina became my ‘carer’. I was so grateful for her kindness and compassion.
- As soon as I mention we are going to the beach, the night before Bettina raids the fridge for our lunch, choosing things she thinks I will like. (Bettina always nails it)
- Bettina acts without prejudice, bias, or cynicism. Bettina is always authentic with her kindness.
5 reasons to be kind this year – because:
- It will make the world go round
- Everyone is fighting a hard battle especially with everything that has happened with Covid.
- There will be plenty of events that we will not be in control of in the coming months and perhaps years, but we can control how we behave towards other people.
- It will make you feel better about yourself if you are kind to someone else and it will encourage them to do a kindness for another person next time. (I have found kindness to be contagious).
- You have the opportunity to make life less difficult for another person, a great privilege.
Never, if possible, lie down at night without being able to say:
“I have made one human being at least a little wiser,
Or a little happier,
Or a little better this day.”
And 5 spontaneous acts of kindness you can make in 2022:
- Smile and remember to say please and thank you when shopping and when you purchase your coffee.
- Stop and speak to someone who looks downcast, worried, and desperate – your kinds words could be the ones that save them.
- Pause and let another motorist or pedestrian have your right of way. (smile when you do). Give up your seat on a bus or a train for a person who needs it more than you. Open the door for another person.
- Acknowledge someone’s hard work with a compliment
- Never say “I am too busy” – ask someone “can I help?”
As Joyce (Bettina’s mum) comes towards the end of her ‘Hidato’ quiz book, Bettina’s notices and immediately stops what she is doing and goes into another room to find a new book for her. Bettina’s knows Joyce will enjoy completing her new puzzles. Joyce has not asked or expected Bettina to do this – Bettina does it because she is kind.
Joyce: “Aren’t you kind”
Bettina: “I don’t mind”
“Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts”
Steve Raw www.leadershipintheraw.org