This attribute is powerful, possessing tremendous relevance and meaning.
According to The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, some of the benefits include:
- A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high”, involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional wellbeing.
- Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
- A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
- Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a degree or more than doubling your income.
“The Health Benefits of Kindness,” https://caydenskindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/the-health-benefits-of-kindness
So, with all of those perks, you would think there would be more emphasis on its importance in our culture.
Yet, from the earliest ages of childhood, we see a quite different reality concerning the kindness issue.
- 160,000 students miss school every day because of intimidation or the fear of an attack.
- Nearly 10 percent of high school girls say they’ve been in a physical fight within the past 12 months.”
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Report, 2004
“Chicks and Cliques Confronts Mean Girls,” ABC News
These statistics were given a pop culture name via a 2004 movie which was box office gold, “Mean Girls.”
And, although Aurora was not considered to be a mean girl, we did not, necessarily, see intentional acts of kindness from her.
This is not to “bully” our “Sleeping Beauty.”
Rather, it’s to illustrate how, again, our attention appears to stop at her beauty.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“…the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”. 1 Samuel 16:7
Still, that doesn’t get us off the hook. We are instructed we need to be kind. And the Proverbs 31 Woman template certainly doesn’t provide us any excuse.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”. Proverbs 31:20
But it’s not just directed at the female gender; kindness is the call to everyone.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”. Ephesians 4:32
And, that’s what makes the kindness trait so powerful- and dangerous if it is absent.
Whether it’s females or males, what is the message being taught?
Do we place an enormous amount of pressure on the females to be kind, at all cost, while giving males an excuse to ignore the character trait because, “boys will be boys?”
Do we reinforce how, really, all that matters is the outward appearance?
Do we model the toxic gender role dance, teaching both sexes to disregard anything which doesn’t appear as an outward manifestation of aesthetically pleasing image and beauty?
Anything short of appreciating, modelling and living the spirit of kindness, again, does us a disservice.
We need to wake up to that truth.
Moving on to our next “Fearfully and wonderfully made” trait, we turn our attention to… Wisdom.
WISDOM is the principal thing. Therefore get WISDOM…Poverbs 4:7
But do we always get it?
Come on, what do you think?
Nevertheless, again, there are benefits concerning intelligence: and that’s just involves the information factor.
- The brain is a physical organ, and like other organs or muscles in the body it can be trained to be fitter and more efficient.
- Your IQ is not just your ability to solve problems – it is a measure of your overall brain fitness and efficiency.
- Brain plasticity – the ability of brain to reorganize itself by growing new brain cells or connections.
- Energy supply to the brain – particularly when it’s working hard
With a smarter brain, there are all-round cognitive benefits for attentional focus and grit, problem solving efficiency, learning capacity and memory – much like there are all-round physical benefits to being in good shape physically.
“High IQ & Intelligence Benefits,” http://www.highiqpro.com/high-iq-benefits
Indeed, data, facts and figures all scratch the spiritual surface of this life-altering characteristic. For wisdom is the application of vital resources…
“the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”
And, if we look to Aurora for this trait, we are left wanting.
A large part of that lackluster display of wisdom is her age. She’s all of sixteen years old. Not to pick on teenagers, but there is a wisdom which only comes with age.
Life experience – or the lack thereof- impacts the reality of wisdom.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.. Proverbs 4:6-7
And, as mentioned earlier concerning the personality trait, there did appear to be a lack of complexity to Aurora.
This was even in spite of her traumatic circumstances: death curse wished upon her, uprooted from her parents and exile to the forest to live hidden from view.
That naïve perspective, therefore, did not trigger the much needed discernment required, especially as she wandered into encounters with Maleficent and, of course, that dreaded spinning wheel.
As isolated, young and unquestioning as she was, she did not pause to consider such things as ulterior motives, jealousy and reality of a dangerous world.
Perhaps it had to do with, again, those cute woodland critters. I suppose if you’re inundated with enough adorable bluebirds and squirrels, harmonizing with you, telling you how magnificent you are, life might look quite rosy.
And, again, the harmful fairytale message surfaces. It states how being beautiful is, indeed, enough to save you and, of course, make your way in
the world. There is no need for knowledge, critical thinking and going beyond surface level images. Just go along your merry little way and be beautiful. It’s nothing to worry your pretty little head about.
Scripture, however, contradicts fairytale. Indeed, there is spiritual importance placed on wisdom.
Again, we return to the Proverbs 31 Woman.
She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.. Proverbs 31:26
We just can’t seem to get away from her. Yet, however unfairly, there is the expectation- if not full-on pressure- for the female gender to, in one way or another, “have it all together.” Unrealistic? Yes.
Yet, no matter how we slice it, wisdom is doable. After all, we each have the fruit of the spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”. Galatians 5:22-23
The question we need to answer for ourselves is this: do I cooperate with that fruit?
I know. It’s maddening.
Yet, there IS method to the madness.
I am focusing so much of the inaccurate image message of “Sleeping Beauty” and other like fairytales precisely because the sentiments they espouse have little-to-nothing to do with actual, relevant life. They promise an arrival of a perfect Prince Charming (snicker here) and a “happily ever after” kingdom in which no one ever has a bad day again.
Now, I am a romantic; I “love love.” But come on!
And this leads back to the de-emphasis of what is truly important: those non-superficial character traits. Yes, it is about the inner beauty stuff trumping the outer beauty.
It’s not because beauty is bad. Rather, it’s because the comprehensive, complex person has a better chance to experience the opened door of potential.
But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”. 1 Corinthians 2:9
hat if, all this focus on the external distracts us – and keeps us – from our truly unique untapped potential?
What if we miss out on our purpose by obsessing on some subtle form of fairytale mirror?
Or worse: what if we never see ourselves- and accept ourselves- as the spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, purpose-filled creation of the Most High?
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.. Colossians 1:16
That would truly be a shame.
Furthermore, it would be negligence of our true “right and royal duty.”
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.. Romans 8:17
There is simply too much greatness in us to permit that from happening, save one thing: our will.
What will we do then with that?