It isn't all sweetness and light in the OM Year of Kindness . . .
You just have to open a newspaper or switch on the television to realize that all is not well in the world.
Be it the awful events in Algeria or the violence in Afghanistan, the mayhem in Mali or the continuing troubles afflicting Syria, discord and despair still have a firm foothold in our lives. Even on our own doorsteps, where memories of Newtown remain raw, identifying unhappiness isn't the most difficult task imaginable.
Taking such things into account, you might think that there's little that can be done to make our Earth a more harmonious place; that it is too late; that such strife is just too ingrained.
You'd be - in our opinion, at least - mistaken in such an assumption.
Here on the ground, in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, we can't bring peace to the Middle East, or resolve conflict in Africa, or persuade the next troubled teenager who decides that there is no other course that he ought to put down the gun and seek help. But that doesn't make us powerless.
You see, we all have it in us to make our planet a better place, a world more connected and it is our duty, as humans, to try. Kindness is the key, of that there is no doubt.
Progress might be slow, almost imperceptible, but we're convinced that the baby steps we're taking right now will, in time, become giant strides. Think about growing things in the garden and believe that we'll reap in the future what is sown in the present. Right now, we're doing our utmost to scatter seeds of kindness. It might take a while, but the harvest will come.
Yesterday, in his inaugural address, President Obama touched on subjects close to our hearts. This isn't - as he made clear - a time for politicking or partisanship. This is a time to unite and connect, a time for 'personal responsibility [and] collective action, [a time to] move forward together [and a time to] do things together, as one people.
'Our journey,' he said, 'is not complete [and] we have the power to set our course. We are made for this moment and we will seize it as long as we seize it together.'
Speaking just after the election, last November, President Obama outlined our need to be 'generous, compassionate and tolerant', these all qualities that are rooted in kindness. These are the qualities that must come to the fore in order for things to change. It's all about putting differences aside and recognizing our common bonds. The good news is that in doing this, in sowing the seeds, we're far from alone.
This blog brims with stories of people using kindness to make a difference in the world, and for each Patience Salgado and for each Jose Tortolero, there are countless others out there, all doing their bit . . .
Earlier this week, for instance, a tale reached us from Texas, where employees at the Woodbine Water Supply Corporation were called together and told about an envelope, containing $500 and a short note, that had been received.
'I'd like to make this contribution to anyone [at the plant who is] down on their luck,' the letter, from an anonymous donor, read. The funds, accepted gratefully, have been put to good use.
'If there were more people like this, I think there would be a lot less hunger and trouble in the world,' said Michael Hinz, a local resident, hitting the nail squarely, in the process, on the head.
You see, that $500 donation was one person's seed of kindness. Ours are the OMs that we send out into the world. Yours might be a kind word, or a smile, or some other gesture. Holding a door open, taking in a neighbor's trash, paying for a stranger's gas. It can be anything.
The important thing here is that the sooner you start sowing those seeds, the sooner they'll begin growing and, once it has started, who knows where the resulting kindness might spread? Throughout your home? Throughout your neighborhood? Throughout our world?
That's our aim and it all starts here so please join us, sow your seeds, and let's set our course together. It's time to seize the moment . . .