Be Kind, Please Rewind


If you could endow your offspring with one, singular trait that would define them as a person – what would it be? Sure, laser eyes and invisibility would be awesome, but if you really sit and think about it, there has to be something that means more to you than anything else in a person.

For me, it’s “kindness”. Partly because I think the word “kindness” encompasses a lot of different attributes that I would want to shove into this exercise. Merriam-Webster defines kind as “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others : wanting and liking to do good things and bring happiness to others.” So when I think of a kind person, I automatically assume they’re generous, loving, caring, genuine and honest.

But when is the last time anyone referred to another human as “kind”. I guess maybe the word has fallen out of favor. I think back to when I referred to good things as “the bomb”, so maybe “kind” is “the bomb” of personality attributes. It’s just not used that much anymore. But being kind to others is something that, I feel, is one of the most powerful things you can do on this earth. To me, it’s almost a transcendent act that tells who you are to the core.

When I see my daughter offer an “o”, the fruity, organic Cheerio-style cereal piece we give her as a snack, to the person feeding her at the time (as she’s also shoving them into her own face-hole), I think it’s in her. Kindness. Jess would call it a “servant’s heart”. Dad would call it just being “nice”. Any which way you slice it, I think it’s pretty awesome. Kindness.

There’s a naivety inherit in the attribute kindness. And that’s okay.

I hope you have that naivety as long as it serves you well, Emerson. I hope you don’t quit being kind just because you hear others say things that distract you from what’s naturally in your soul. It’s hard to explain what that really means other than explaining it through others’ actions. For example, your cousin Haley once gave all her Christmas presents to the less fortunate. Donated every single one of them. And I wouldn’t describe her family as the more fortunate, affluent family either. But all that mattered to her was making others feel the love she felt in her life. That mattered more than material things.

Inevitably you’ll experience doubt to your kindness. Someone will creep doubt into your head but not into your soul. Most likely, it won’t be anyone meaning to distract you from your unconscious mission but only seeking to understand the why behind it. And I’ll just say that, after the experiences in my life, there’s no other explanation than saying, “I just care about others as much as I care about myself.”

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