Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Get It Now

As the country verges on vertigo standing atop the fiscal cliff with just over a day to find a solution, it occurred to me that I don't really like anybody on either side of the stalemate. Each side seems somewhat unreasonable and prone to saying unkind things about the other side: affixing blame solely on the shoulders of the other political party. While the rest of us swing and dangle on the end of an expensive noose, our elected leaders continue to affirm the best of intentions while disparaging the "other side" as being the ones holding things up. There is little chance I will like either side even IF this gets resolved. Thus, it should come as no surprise that even children like kindness.
Sure, sometimes researchers go out of their way to p"prove" something anybody could have told them, but I find Kristin Layous' findings interesting anyway. Layous, a psychology faculty member at UC-Riverside, conducted a study recently to determine if "forcing" children to be kind would actually improve their popularity. Here's what she did:
Four hundred school children between the ages of nine and eleven were divided into two groups for the study. Both groups were polled at the beginning of the study to determine which students were most likely to be picked as a group member for a school activity (assuming the selection corresponded with popularity). One group was told to visit three places every week for four weeks and write in a diary about their experiences. The other 200 students were assigned three acts of kindness every week and also asked to record those acts. Two things need clarification: 1) the study was done in the spring so students already knew each other rather well, and 2) the acts of kindness did NOT have to be directed at fellow students. Acts such as "I gave my mother a hug because she was stressed" and "I shared my lunch" are examples.
To absolutely nobody's surprise, the students who performed acts of kindness for three weeks were judged far more likely to be picked by their classmates for group activities when the 400 students were polled at the end of the study.
Bottom line: when was the last act of kindness you saw from anyone wrangling over the economic issues in Washington? Right. me, neither.
Thus, there is no hope I will ever feel positively about them...and I suspect I will not be alone.


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