Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Culture of Kindness

I was at the counter checking out. It was a small store and the owner was my cashier. His phone rang and he answered. To his dismay, it turned out to be a solicitor. His friendly, polite demeanor instantly changed. He rudely rebuffed the caller and noisily hung up on him. As if that wasn’t enough, he then grouched to me about having his time wasted by unwanted phone calls.

I was uncomfortable with his behavior and it caused me to to reflect on how I treat others. I am usually polite to people I know, and people I interact with in social situations. I am polite in the doctors office and in the checkout line at the grocery store, but I how do treat strangers that I meet only on the phone. And what if their call happens to be ill-timed or obnoxious? Do I then choose to treat them with kindness or hostility?

There is enough trash talk in the world. We do not lack for unkind words, put downs, or confrontations. We have more than enough bullies, more than enough fear and discouragement, more than enough comparison and competition, and more than enough isolation and sadness. What we need is kindness.

My friend Judy Wells, who is an anti-bullying speaker, tells me that our culture breeds bullies. She hopes that we can create a culture of kindness. What an amazing idea. Instead of a culture of competition, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of deception and fraud, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of selfishness and bullying, a culture of kindess.

I have seldom returned to that small store, and I have tried never to treat another person with unkindness. The salesman on the phone, or at my door are only trying to make a living. I don’t have to give them my business, but I can certainly give them some courtesy. It costs me nothing. It’s the least I can do.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to create a culture of kindness? If we worked on it together, maybe it could happen. Won’t you join us? That would make three of us. You, Judy, and I.

While we’re changing the world, let’s not forget to spread a little kindness around our homes, and please, pretty please,

...will you please dump some of that kindness on yourself. You deserve it.

Linda Garner

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