Between us and our god

Every organisation right now is trying to survive the trials of lockdown and working from home. Internal comms have been turbocharged, meetings scheduled to catch up online, and various initiatives to maintain contact and drive engagement. Fair enough.

One of the initiatives of my workplace has been to encourage random acts of kindness in the neighbourhood and community. In the current environment that’s certainly worthy, though you would hope it doesn’t need a pandemic to be kind. But credit where it’s due, and if it makes one skerrick of difference then it’s worthwhile.

But then last night a message came through on one of the team channels. It was from the head of marketing urging us to post online our efforts in helping others, and all the better if there was a pic attached. I don’t know if she thought this through completely, though I reckon also the corporate honchos would be suggesting this.

I think she’s genuine. I reckon she’s got a good heart and means well, but this sat poorly with me. It could be that I’m just a bit old school and particular about things like this, but I reckon the essence of kindness is that you do them because they’re the right thing to do – without thought of recognition or reward. In fact, I think any consideration in publicising it cheapens it. In my worldview, a kind gesture is a private thing, between you and the recipient of it, and maybe with your own god.

I felt like responding along those lines, and making the point that there are people who make a habit of being kind and generous, and long before now.

My team leader is a good man, as I’ve mentioned previously. I admire him greatly. We get on really well, though in many ways we’re pretty different. He’s a part of a church group and he’s active every weekend either teaching English to new migrants or taking them on day trips around the state for them to learn and to engage with others. He does it because he has a social conscience.

He does this every week, year in, year out. I think for him now to have this publicised would diminish it – not that he ever would. I’m hopeful that the situation we’re in has brought out the kind and generous side of people – it seems to have in many. And, I think it’s good my workplace encourages that.  I hope it’s something that will continue long after we’re back in the office. But please, don’t make us brag about it!

I never responded. I’ll say nothing, but nor will I post anything. I note that nobody else has yet.

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