Kindness matters. There, I said it.
We spend our entire lives watching, listening and learning from the world around us. Like brush strokes on a blank canvas, each influence and personal experience leaves a permanent mark. Because everyone sees, hears and feels things differently, no two canvases ever end up the same. This is the beauty of individuality and diversity.
Despite our many differences, humanity is the one common denominator we all share. Will we ever collectively agree on controversial topics? Probably not. Can we all make a conscious effort to be kind to one another? Absolutely.
In an age where TV’s most prominent talking heads hurl insults, criticisms and slanted viewpoints 24 hours a day, while faceless critics hide behind their computer keyboards, using sharp words as tactical weapons, kindness is in short supply. Our children are learning, by example, to use blatant cruelty and disrespect as a means of publicly wounding and shaming one another. These behaviors have become the new norm.
Although they are widely practiced and accepted within our society, we continue to scratch our heads in disbelief when acts of bullying, hate speech or violence manifest themselves within our communities.
I believe, with exception, in the inherent goodness of humans. When disaster strikes, something within us changes. Without hesitation, complete strangers join together, lending their hearts and hands to the service of others. In those critical moments, opinions and beliefs are set aside, sleeves are rolled up and every able-bodied person works tirelessly for the good of the common cause. This is the humanity I know and love!
Kindness is a choice we must make for ourselves. Although single-handedly solving the world’s problems is beyond my reach, I can make an effort to foster kindness and compassion within my own home and community. I can treat each person I meet with respect. I can listen more and judge less. I can stand up for what’s right, help out when I’m needed and refuse to tolerate divisive words and behaviors.
I can and I will. Kindness, as it turns out, begins with me.
Jennifer Walker owns Osmosis Marketing Solutions, a Gallia County business specializing in PR, marketing and social media management.