I’m sure while growing up all kids were often told to follow the Golden Rule, especially in school. This reminder normally occurred after one child had been mean to another child and had gotten caught. It was basically a reminder to be kind to one another. However, after hearing this over and over again, most children eventually learned to tune the teacher out and thought of the Golden Rule as another annoying school rule that only served to stop them from having fun. Its importance was not grasped by our young minds, becoming something we could all recite, but not something we practiced daily. (I mean, you have been to school, right? Not the nicest place at times.)
That was then…this is now.
But as adults, you would think that we would have this thing mastered. We would understand that we should treat others the way that we would want to be treated. I mean, the “Golden Rule” is not really some made up rule. It’s so much more than that. It is a guiding principal given by Jesus, yes Jesus, as to how we should treat one another. And it makes perfectly good sense. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all treated other people exactly how we wished they would treat us?
Some days I just want to hide in my house and not deal with other people. I get tired of dealing with rude customer service, people swerving in and out of traffic and blowing horns, people pushing past you without saying “Excuse Me.” My list could go on and on. I’m not asking for everyone to behave like angels, but what happened to common courtesy and simple manners?
But I can’t stay hidden in my house just to avoid some rude folks, and Jesus wouldn’t want me to do that either. How can I be a light for Him, if I am hiding from the very people He wants me to shine His light on?
No, I’m not perfect (in case you thought that I thought I was), and I am writing this even for myself to remember that while I’m out and about and interacting with others, that it would be wise to remember Jesus’ urging that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of others, but we can control what we do and say and how we react to how others treat us. It won’t be easy, but I feel like if more of us tried to show love everywhere we went, to be intentional with it, that we might be surprised by the reactions we get from others.
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash
The Art of Being Kind
What I’ve decided to do was go through some of the “biggest offenses” that I encounter on a regular basis. These are just my ideas on what causes much of the conflict that happens on a daily basis and what we can to do combat it.
Think I’m crazy? That’s okay! Still keep reading.
Have you been nodding your head in agreement? Great! Keep reading.
However you feel about the topic. Keep reading.
Ready? Here we go!
- Let’s get back to Manners 101. I’m talking about the basic manners that we all teach our children from the moment that they begin to walk and talk. I’m surprised by the number of people who no longer even say, “Please,” “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” How about saying, “Hello” when we see someone instead of just walking by or worst yet, just ringing up their groceries and sending them on their way. Hold the door for the person behind you. Give up your seat for the elderly woman. It’s like we’re all walking around right next to each other, but everyone is in his or her own little bubble. We’re so oblivious to everyone else and what they’re going through that we can’t even take the time to speak to and be pleasant with one another.
- Do your job (please and thank you). I am so over horrible customer service. I get that people have bad days and may have had a stressful morning or have other pressing matters on their minds, but this can’t be the case all of the time. Is it really that hard to greet a customer with a smile and a “Hello?” Why does it annoy you when I ask which aisle I can find something on in the store where you work? If you don’t know the answer to the question I’m asking, is it too hard to help me find someone who can? Ummmm…are you supposed to be on your cell phone on the job? Oh, don’t worry. I’ll wait for you to finish texting your boo before I ask my question. It blows my mind how people can treat customers as an annoyance and inconvenience when we’re the very reason they have a job. Who knows? Your work day might go a lot more smoothly if you were to be pleasant and kind to the people that you encounter all day.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. This one can go for businesses as well as in our personal lives. Being a new homeowner has taught me so much about why some businesses succeed and others don’t. My husband and I have been stood up so many times by people who say that they’re going to fix something or work on something around the house, giving us big hopes about the type of work they can do, only to have them call with the excuses as to why they can’t make it again or them just vanishing into thin air like a ghost. We’ve had this problem from the one-man business to the “well-known” company. It’s extremely frustrating and disheartening. It’s the same for your personal relationships and when someone is counting on you. If you can’t make it to the party, tell them. If you can’t do that favor for them, say it. Don’t get people’s hopes up only to let them down. How do you feel when it happens to you? Not so great, right?
- Have and show compassion. We’re all in a hurry. We all have busy lives. But does that mean that we don’t have the time to be kind to someone who may need a little help? I’ve been astounded by the men that I will see who drive right around a car that someone is attempting to steer and push all on their own because the car has stalled. I mean I’ve seen people angrily whip around this person, looking annoyed that the person and his/her stalled car is in the way. Seriously? (Sidenote: I’m not saying that women can’t help with this, but I know that I would be of little help with pushing a car. I might be able to help you steer, but that’s about it. LOL) Instead of rolling your eyes at the mother with the crying baby, maybe give her a little smile of encouragement. Give a slightly bigger tip and write a nice note for the waiter who has been busy bustling around nonstop all night. Hold the door for that person you see struggling because their hands are full. Help that person pick up the items they just spilled all over the ground. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine what you would want someone do to for you.
- Not everything needs a response or reaction. No matter how hard we try to be kind to others, we will have those moments when someone says or does something mean to us. In that moment our natural reaction is of course to retaliate. But I challenge you to ask yourself, “Is this really worth it? Is this really worth my anger and frustration?” Some people and situations are not even worth the trouble it takes to engage in a word battle with them. Sometimes we allow people to ruin our entire day because we choose to go tit for tat with them. For the most part, if you ignore them and walk away from the situation, refuse to answer the nasty email or text or post, or even surprise them with a smile or kind word, the other person will be forced to move on to something or someone else. Your response may actually calm them down or make them think about how trivial the matter is.
My prayer is that you, my reader, will take to heart some of the things I’ve written about and decide for yourself that you will try each day to find a way to make someone else smile, to extend a hand of kindness to someone else, to choose a positive reaction to a negative situation. If we all do our small part, we can make a big difference in our world. Will it solve all of our problems? No. But we can certainly impact the lives of those around us and allow that to have a ripple effect as kindness is spread from person to person. Let it be contagious!
Who’s with me?