Two kids were talking one day. Marvin said,
“That new kid in school is nothing but a big fathead!"
Matilda, in her refined way, softly said,
“You shouldn’t call people names like that. It’s rude. I never call people names. "
Marvin shrugged and told her,
“Well, I just got mad when he said you were stupid looking. "
At this, Matilda put her hands on her hips and demanded,
“What else did that big fathead say?"
It’s easy to be kind to people who treat me well. The challenge is to practice kindness to those who are as friendly as a skunk backed into a corner. Sometimes I meet this challenge well and other times I fail miserably and feel lower than a pregnant pig’s belly.
I still feel bad for being nasty to a neighbor of mine almost two years ago. Hopefully, she chalked it up to the fact that everybody has bad days (or for some of us, bad weeks, months, or years).
I hope that others will be patient with me, even on those days when I’m as lovable as a grizzly bear with a hangover. In the same way, I try to be considerate of others who might be having the worst day of their lives. When I encounter a crabby waitress, I try to smile more than usual and be extra nice to her. I comment on how hard she has to work and how she must tire of dealing with cranky customers. I give her genuine compliments on her service; and by the time I leave, she is usually smiling and wishing me a nice day.
With a kind word, you can drag an elephant by the tail. A little kindness goes a long way. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Chances are that the old grouch who snaps at you from behind the counter at Walgreens isn’t the creepy monster of a man that you assume he is. Maybe he has problems you don’t know about like fallen arches, false teeth that are too tight, itching psoriasis, or burning hemorrhoids. He might even have all of the above and more. If you had his problems, you’d probably be ornery and cantankerous too.
This world can be a cold place. Why not enhance global warming? What sunshine is to flowers, smiles and kind words are to humanity. The gift of a few kind words can warm three winter months. Don’t you love it when someone warms your soul with a random act of kindness? Why not do the same for those you encounter? They might be in need of the warm sunshine of a kind word.
Author of “Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter"