One of the joys of being part of the chaplaincy at Warwick is that it draws together different people from many parts of our University community. Although we have some rules, at the heart of that is the values that we share and the atmosphere we can create. This year’s Mental Health Awareness week has focussed on the theme of kindness. That’s an idea that sounds so simple and basic. We might be surprised that it even needs to be said. But we probably all know from our own experience that life doesn’t always work like that. How we live together and how we treat each other is a core question of what it means to live as a human community. In our current pandemic context, the need is so much greater. There are some wonderful and inspiring ways to be kind both practically and in other ways, one of which is volunteering.
Our faith traditions have a lot of wisdom and experience of how human communities work and the importance of living together well: faith communities draw people together who don’t always have a lot else in common. Part of the journey of faith is to travel together – both with people who are like us and people who are not.
The Golden Rule turns up in many faith traditions and can have value for us whatever our own beliefs. The picture shows versions of it gathered from different faiths. When we were able to be on campus, you could pick up badges and cards with these on from the chaplaincy (and hopefully the time will soon come when you can do that again).
The Golden Rule is an essential principle of kindness which requires us to recognise other people as being human just as we are. To treat them as we would want to be treated is at the heart of what I think it means to be kind. As we respond to Mental Health Awareness Week, we need to take a step further and recognise that we don’t all need the same things. For example, treatment that might seem encouraging to one person could be experienced as patronising by another. To be truly kind we need to strive to treat people as we would want to be treated, if we were them. In the chaplaincy, we seek to offer a kind response to everyone whatever their faith or belief. Do be in touch if you would be glad of a listening ear.