There is nothing kind about what Aemon says either to tyrion or later in AGOT to Jon. Wise and insightful - yes, but not kind.
Consider what Aemon said along with what Moquorro tells Tyrion that he sees dragons, young and old and in the midst of them Tyrion snarling. Aemon sees as well as Moquorro that Tyrion has a large role to play in the events of ASOIAF as they unfold. There is nothing kind in that vision. Being a giant come amongst us is not a good thing in ASOIAF where giants are destructive and dangerous.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Aemon's interactions with Jon have the shape of a wise old man giving a brash young man some much needed perspective, e.g. helping him come to terms with his role in the Watch. If helping without getting something in return is not being kind, I don't know what kindness is. Also, he "saves" Sam from the clutches of Alliser Thorne at Jon's request, which is pretty kind, considering the environment they're in enables someone like Thorne.
As for Aemon being ridiculed and belittled all his life: I heartily disagree. He had a good relationship with his brother Aegon, and considering his love of books, he must have been right at home in Oldtown. He was offered the crown in secret, meaning only a few was ever aware of the choice he made. Later on, he would correspond with his great-grandnephew, the beloved Rhaegar, about serious topics, prophecies being among them. When the officers are hosting Tyrion, everyone grow silent the moment Aemon begins to speak. Considering the regular pieces of asshats most of those guys are, I'd say that's a huge sign of respect for a maester a hundred years old. In private, Jeor wishes Aemon several more years of life, seeing as how invaluable he is to the Watch.
OT: It's possible that Aemon was indeed being sarcastic: Tyrion is clearly one of the most intelligent men in the realm, and coupled with being a descendant of a powerful and influential house, Tyrion's potential for greatness is only inhibited by himself having an inferiority complex due to his dwarfism. Put in that light, one could take Aemon's words to be a way of telling Tyrion to man up and stand up for himself, because he's telling him the truth, not merely flattering him.
Edited by Thendel, 08 February 2013 - 09:19 AM.