Be kind


Dan Seaborn 

Be kind; Those are just two words that are so easy to say but so tough to live out sometimes. Be kind. Especially with all of the stress that we’re all feeling right now, it’s easy to justify being irritable and short with people. And we can convince ourselves that it’s not that big of a deal because we’re still stressed out about school for our children and whether we should stay or choose in-person schooling or stick with distance learning. Or maybe that decision was made for us. Or we’re stressed out about finances or racial inequality or health or political issues. And when we’re already dealing with so many other things that are bouncing around in our minds, the way that we treat people can tend to take a back seat.  

I’m writing this to remind you not to let that happen. Don’t allow the way that you treat other people to “slip” because of everything else that you have going on right now. It’s easy to let it start to happen, but if we work at it and pay attention, we can catch when it does and choose kindness instead of a negative response.  

Often, my wife, Jane, will say to me, “Can you just be kind?” Whenever she says that, it’s pretty normal for me to think that I already was being kind. But then I have to realize that she wouldn’t be asking me that question if I was already doing it. And I have to check myself and work to be kind with my words, expressions and body language. We can communicate incredible love through kindness.  

If you’re struggling with kindness lately, let me share a thought that I hope will help you to re-focus in the moment. Maybe it’s a little morbid to think about it like this, but when your life is over, don’t you want people to remember and be able to truthfully say that you were a kind person, someone who made them feel valued and cared for? That’s definitely what I want my wife, kids and grandkids to say about me after I’m gone.  

And that is only the result if I consistently work to keep a positive attitude, avoid sarcasm and other hurtful ways of communicating. By doing this, I prioritize them and their needs and let them know just how much they mean to me, simply by the way I treat and talk to them. When we do that in interaction after interaction, we’ll develop a reputation for kindness. Of course, there will be moments when we are especially tired, stressed or overwhelmed and say or do something that we shouldn’t. That’s just part of being human. But we need to be quick to apologize for those moments and make sure that those types of lapses are few and far between! They can become common if we aren’t careful.  

If we are known as kind people, our spouses, kids and grandkids will know that we are also safe people. They will know that they can rely on us when they have a problem they don’t know how to handle and need some help. They will be much quicker to come to us with their own struggles because we’ll have earned their trust, which is something that all of us want. Being kind is one of the best ways that each of us can practice winning more often at home.