Pause for Thought

Dear Friends

The Month of November
If I’m honest, November is probably my least favourite month of the year. As we transition from autumn to winter November is the hush before winter with its cold, fog, rain, raw evenings and early dusk.
We have All Saints’ Day, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day on our calendars and Christmas is just around the corner. Of course, if we lived in the southern hemisphere we would see November in a completely different way as we would be transitioning not from autumn to winter but from spring to summer.
So, on a quest to see our month of November in a more positive light I began to look in more detail at the month’s events.
The first Thursday, it transpires, is National Men Make Dinner day (in the USA, of course!). Again in the USA the 21st is National Cake Day – maybe we should adopt that one! The 19th is International Men’s Day, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and World Toilet Day. A lot going on on the 19th! And the 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Here in the UK the third week in November is anti-bullying week. This annual event aims to raise awareness of bullying of children and young people in schools and elsewhere and to highlight ways of preventing and responding to it. This week is organised by the Anti-bullying Alliance in England which is made up of about 140 member organisations. This year’s event will be held between 13-17 November and the theme will be “All Different, All Equal”.
International Stand Up To Bullying Day is the third Friday, to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week; participants sign and wear a pink pledge shirt to take a visible public stance against bullies. The events, known as a STAND, take place in schools, workplaces and organisations in 25 countries around the globe. The colour of the shirt is based on a campaign started by two students who took a stand for a fellow student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.
This one particularly caught my imagination; November 13th is World Kindness Day. First introduced in 1998, The World Kindness Movement now has 27 member nations. World Kindness Day is designed to highlight good deeds in the community, focusing on the positive power and common threads of kindness which bind us. It promotes kindness as a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and location.
Events held on World Kindness Day include THE BIG HUG, handing out kindness cards, and in Canada they celebrate with The Kindness Concert. Kindness Day in the UK aims to encourage the public to recognise the value of kindness and perform at least one act of kindness on the day. It is now celebrated by a range of charities, associations, businesses, schools, organisations, institutions and individuals across the country. As an overall mission, the Kindness Day UK campaign aims to make kindness to people, animals and the
environment a bigger part of day-to-day life in the UK.
These are of course all secular organisations and events based on humanitarian considerations, but their aims must surely resonate with us, particularly now, in November, as we approach the end of our liturgical year when we remind ourselves that Jesus taught us to value kindness and loving service as the most effective forms of Christian witness.
Joan Memmott