I reached for this quote from the Dalai Lama having just read a tweet from ex-footballer and Match of the Day anchor Gary Lineker. ‘Why does everyone want to fight these days?’ was his reaction to the latest outbreak of violence at a football ground.

If we widen the view, our much anticipated return to social integration appears to be coinciding with disturbing levels of unrest across the globe. COVID, of course, has embedded a constant state of anxiety and it’s not done yet. Further consequences for the health, mobility and economic status of significant populations lie ahead.

Climate change too is in full cry – heat waves, drought, floods. Biblical stuff.

Indeed, all the world’s major long-term challenges are banging at the door.

Mix in the impact of horror stories from Afghanistan and perhaps it is unsurprising that aggression is a recurrent reaction to circumstances that seem overwhelming.

But hostility is never the answer. On the contrary, at times like this, we need to pull together. And while individually we cannot tackle the big issues, what we can all do is be kind.

By showing respect, by putting ourselves in each other’s shoes, by taking the time to help, we will contribute to a virtuous circle of giving and receiving. Both outcomes can be equally rewarding, a point emphasised by another footballer, Gareth Bale, in The Q&A from The Guardian’s Weekend magazine.

To end with a quote also, this time from American actor Morgan Freeman – ‘How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.’