In today’s world of social media, kindness is not a word often used to describe the goings on in that world. Words more likely used are: antipathy, hostility, antagonism, enmity, loathing, and hate. All a far cry from kindness.
The above words also describe television interviews, political debates, workplace disputes, telephone conversations, newspaper and magazine articles, editorials and commentaries. People call each other all kinds of names. Our society is seemingly growing impervious to kindness.
I live in a community where there are several so-called tourist attractions. I live in close proximity to a few of them. During this past Thanksgiving, we were blessed with the presence of a large number of family members and friends, including three grandchildren. Some of them had not seen some of the attractions, so we made a point of introducing them. All of the attractions were crowded, setting the stage for impatience and a deep dive into society’s regular animosity. But I never saw it or experienced it.
Instead, there was patience and, well, thanksgiving. Both attraction workers and visitors were patient, friendly and, well, kind. From requests for directions to standing in long lines to holding doors open for others to enter first, everyone was remarkably well-behaved. More excuse me’s, more thank you’s, more please’s. Even our grandchildren and other young children seemed taken in by the kind actions of others.
Maybe I was just lucky in what I witnessed. Maybe Thanksgiving made the difference. Maybe we are growing tired of rudeness, brutish behavior, and language befitting louts. Could it be that we are, at times, rediscovering kindness?
When I was a little boy, I was assigned to memorize a bible verse for Sunday School. With my mother’s help, I chose Ephesians 4:32 (KJV): “Be ye kind one to another.” Today’s New International Version reads: “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
I was happy to see that verse put into action this past Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to end there.