I am going to be completely honest with you. I have, of late, been feeling extremely lost. What day is it? What month are we in? Is there still a virus? Why is my beloved America in such utter chaos? Why do groups of people that I love suddenly hate each other?
Sometimes I am able to push it all aside and have a seemingly normal day. Other days I have an ache in my stomach and my anxiety level is unmanageable. I find myself wondering what I can do. Surely there is some way I can help, some way I can make a difference. Then my momma brain takes over and the answer comes to me…Be Kind.
When my oldest son was 6, I picked him up from school and he was not his normal chatty self. He was quiet and sad. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me about a classmate in his class who was picked on every day. She was overweight, struggled in class, and did not follow the unwritten code of acceptable social behaviors. “Mom, they call her names and she cries,” my boy whispered as a tear rolled down his face, “what can I do?” My answer was not earth moving or super philosophical. I tried to put it in simple, easy words that he would understand…Be Kind.
Like my son, I have found myself in the last couple of months with tears rolling down my face wondering, “what can I do?” I found myself watching the news, talking to friends, and scrolling through social media searching for answers and some way to help make a difference in this chaotic world. Finally, I turned to the one source I should have gone to first, my Bible….and there was my answer, plain as day…do unto others as you would have them do unto you… translated it simply means…Be Kind.
What does it mean to be kind? Being kind is something that each and every soul that inhabits this planet is capable of. It does not require wealth, education or friends in high places. It simply requires an open mind, a loving heart, and in many cases a forgiving spirit. It is also something that comes easier the more you practice. Start off with easy acts of kindness like smiling at everyone, yes, even those who do not smile back. Open doors for others, let them go in front of you in check out lines, pick up groceries for elderly neighbors. Being kind does not judge others by their economic status, skin color, sexual orientation or gender preference. Being kind means not judging others based on their religious views, political stance or career choices. Being kind means simply laying all of those prejudices aside and putting the well being of the human first. Being kind means forgetting about all of the craziness in the world today and simply fulfilling a need of another human to be loved and accepted for who and what they are…Be Kind.
Last week I was going through a drive thru picking up dinner for my youngest son. I was on my phone and did not realize that the line in front of me had advanced. The young lady behind me decided to notify me with a loud honk and a few choice words. My initial response was of course to get my feathers ruffled but then my kindness practicing paid off and I decided right then that I was going to pay for her order. As I watched her in my rear-view mirror and the worker explained that I had paid for her meal, the change I saw come over her filled my heart. Her shoulders relaxed, her face softened, and she gave a small wave. I drove home with a full heart and a hope that maybe I made a small difference in her evening. Kindness is something that we must practice, something that we must teach our children, something that is necessary for us all to live in harmony. Kindness will not wipe away all the hate in this world. Kindness will not solve the political and social issues that our nation is facing. However, when used consistently, kindness CAN be life changing…maybe not for the person you are being kind to, but most assuredly for you. So when you find yourself at a loss and wondering what you can do to help, take it from this Momma…Be Kind.
Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate, a Financial Advisor and a Feature Writer for The Gazette. Contact her via email at news@ fgazette.com