Kindness is the universal languageHave you had some of those thoughts too? What I would have done under different circumstances — what I could have done if I had chosen to do so and/or what I should have done.
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Have you had some of those thoughts too? What I would have done under different circumstances — what I could have done if I had chosen to do so and/or what I should have done. And maybe a few times, too, the other side of that coin: What did I do that I shouldn’t have done? Most of us don’t let ourselves off easy, in that retrospect aspect — after we’ve had second thoughts and time to mull it over.
Too often we think belatedly of something we should have done and proceed through a soul searching effort to excuse ourselves with some “ifs” “ands” and “buts.” Remember Don Meredith’s old saw: “If, if ands and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.” We certainly would wouldn’t we?
I discovered a meditation list in my files written in long hand, but with my aging, fading, memory, I can’t recall if I wrote it or copied it without properly crediting the person who wrote it. In either case, they help me remember how I could and should do a better job of being kind and I thought you might appreciate them too. We all would much prefer to be kind to people especially those who appear to be feeling down and/or depressed, I think our problem often is that we don’t take the time — too busy with our own mental capitulations is unfortunately a very weak excuse.
Comfort and cheer another human being.
Relieve the devastating loneliness of someone.
Help bring someone out of the isolation of exaggerated self-concern.
Meet someone’s needs without hurting their pride.
Hearten someone without invading their privacy.
Help someone without lessening their self-confidence and self-reliance.
Well thought out list isn’t it? Now if we could only remember to do the thinking, take the time and judiciously act doing what we know is the right thing to do.
One exception to all this kindness talk is humor jocularity among good friends. I think of our 6 a.m. coffee group at Julie’s when strangers at a nearby table might hear some words that wouldn’t sound kind in any stretch of the imagination.
One excuse we don’t have is the overcrowded conditions of our area — this scenic area without hordes of people. We not only have lots of open spaces; they are available to anyone interested. I can recall, as a former Wisconsin farm boy, riding street car in Chicago and wondering why people avoided eye contact. It finally dawned on me that they were avoiding possible problems. Too many people, too much of the time can present too many potential problems and create folks kinda scared. We can’t use that excuse up here in this beautiful low populated north country can we?
How could this woulda, coulda and shoulda be summarized in one word? My summary choice would be kindness. William Penn summarized it so well 310 years ago that his words have been kept for posterity:
“I expect to pass this way but once, if therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to my fellow human being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
A few closing appropriate quips that say it a little less profoundly but also add some perspective:
A kind word picks up a person when trouble weighs them down and there never has been an overproduction of kind words.
If you were arrested for kindness, would the persecution find enough evidence to convict you?
Be kind. Every person you meet is fighting a difficult personal battle.
Money will allow you to purchase a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
Kindness is like our northern snow; it makes everything it covers more beautiful.
Be kind to people until you make your first million after that they’ll be kind to you.
Mark Twain defined kindness best of all. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com.