Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Kindness, a simple term we are taught when we are small. I am currently teaching my daughter to be kind, to care, to treat others as we want to be treated. Yet as we get older, as the world become smaller digitally, but far more distant personally; kindness is one of the first things we lose. We become hurried, we become self-involved, we feel stressed and one of the natural reactions to the overwhelmed feeling of life is to shorten our interactions with others, to be brusque, in essence we lose our kindness.
As the world gets crazier, what we need now, more than ever is kindness. We need kindness in our lives and in our hearts. From what I can see and my experience in life, it is the kindness that matters. We have all heard the quote from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I want people to remember me and the kindness I showed. I want to wrap people around me and those invested in my life in the knowledge that I want to live in a world that is kind; I want us all to feel safe.
In our world today, we have many topics to debate, policies to discuss and opinions that we hold deep in our hearts. We feel that our own beliefs, values and moral compasses are threatened when others disagree with our important issues. However, we can have these conversations with kindness in our hearts. We can disagree without being disagreeable, discuss without fighting. We can be kind to one another even when we do not believe the same things. It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind.
Of course we will disagree, we cannot grow without change. Growth and change come from knowledge, which many times will conflict with what we previously believed. However, when we feel threatened, we can lash out; but with all the conflict, division and fear, the last thing this world needs in more anger. Instead I ask you, when you are discussing a topic that can cause conflict, can you share your message with kindness? Can you inspire a change of heart without inflicting fear?
We all know the playground bully hurts others in an effort to feel better about themselves. They tear others down to help build themselves up. We teach children that this is wrong, but once our own opinions are threatened, we revert back to this behavior. We act as though, for me to be right, you must be wrong. To prove my beliefs are correct, I must tear down yours. We have watched this behavior all our lives, but if we stopped, if we let kindness rule, maybe we could see a change. If you didn’t have to be wrong for me to be right, if we disagree, discuss and find ways to respect each other, while remaining kind, everyone of us would feel happier and safer.
I know that life can be hard. I know that horrible and painful things happen to everyone. But simple kindness is always achievable. We can smile at others when our heart aches, we can hold a door for a stranger and we can hold the hand of someone in pain. It is possible to stop and remind ourselves that our actions impact everyone around us. We just have to remember once in awhile, that it isn’t all about me. Everyone out there is fighting their own battle, we can help support them just by being kind.
Of course, I realized that I am not perfect. I forget to be nice; heck, I’m a middle school teacher, sometimes I lose it completely. But my dream, is to set my foundation in kindness, to “not let kindness and truth leave”. If we can teach kindness, act through kindness and remind ourselves to be kind even when it is hard, we can make the world a better place.