Is Kindness Your Second Language?

peaceHow many times did you hear this phrase from your parents and/or  grandparents: “What is this world coming to?” I never knew what all the fuss was about growing up. Geesh. If they thought a bunch of hippies were bad, shouting “peace” and “all the world needs now is love,” I wonder what they would say if they could see things now.

all about me“Live your own life – you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself,” and, “It’s All About Me.” What a good friend of mine has penned: the “Entitled” generation. Indeed, what is the world coming to?

But, I’m not condemning the whole as Generation E. Far from it. I also believe mixed in with it is a new breed of concerned citizens of the world. The “Awareness” Generation. They are more aware of what is healthier for their body and Planet Earth, more aware of the plight of starvation, the need for wells in underdeveloped nations, the trafficking in slavery – and they are taking steps to become involved and do something about it. But for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to focus on those “all about me’s” and see if we can’t get more of them to cross back from the dark side.

Have you ever contemplated what your true colors are – that core that exists and is shown when no one in particular is looking or you know, or at least believe, there will be no consequences for your actions?

With social media, while it’s brought us the best of times so far as getting us all connected, it has also been taken advantage of by those that wish to hide behind the computer screen. No consequences can come back on a person if they decide to say in a tweet or Facebook message something they would not say face-to-face. It’s safe. Now, I’ve met some amazing people on the internet, gotten to know them in what I believe to be as personal as you can get for never having met them personally, but I have also borne witness to some pretty disdainful individuals.

who are you

Or how about those drivers travelling behind the tinted windows of their automobile. You know who I’m talking about, we see them every day – a two-lane highway merges into one due to one reason or another, and you’ve been sitting there waiting in line for traffic to move when some joker who, rather than go to the end of the line, barrels up and pushes his way into the front. Now do you really think they would have the cojones to do that very same thing if they walked up to a standing line at a movie theatre box office? Of course not. It wouldn’t be safe to do that.

Isaac Newton was the first to note that for every action there is also an equal or opposite reaction. He meant this, of course, in the physical sense, but this “cause and effect” has been implied in non-physical terms as well.

A smile given, or, a frown. A word spoken or message of support, or, one of criticism. Holding open a door, dropping change in the homeless person’s cup, or, walking by as if they were invisible. You never know when one good gesture could give that person hope that everything is going to be okay, or, that negative gesture place the last piece of straw on their overwhelming hill of frustration. For every action there is most certainly some type of reaction. No matter how big the action or how small. 

I came across a really touching story the other week via CNN. To sum it up, Zach Sobiech died at age 18 from a type of bone cancer. And, before he died instead of grabbing every moment he could for himself, he instead took every moment he had left to leave a memory for those he loved so they would continue to feel his comfort long after he was gone. In his long goodbye, he laid down track after track of songs from lyrics he had composed. This young man, when no one except those closest around was paying attention to him, showed his true colors.


If you think about it, each day we wake up, is one more day we have a chance to add to our own goodbye.

So, I challenge you today, or tomorrow, take one day – just one day – to live it as if it was going to be your last. How would you change the way you treated your co-worker, the stranger driving the car ahead of you, the homeless person you pass on the street, your friends and followers on social media? Would some of your last words be of encouragement or criticism? Would you pass along a smile or a tear? Take one day to live your life the way you’d like to be remembered and if you find the difference is so palpable, ask yourself – what is keeping you from doing that every day?

I’ll leave you today with no wrap-up, only a great video to one of my favorite songs.

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3 Responses to Is Kindness Your Second Language?

  1. Tasha Turner says:

    What a great post. It is the little things that I find count a lot. Like knowing the name of the people who work in stores you frequent and saying hi can really make their day.

    • Gail Gentry says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Tasha. When dining at a restaurant not long ago, I watched my niece who use to be a waitress, write on the ticket, a note on how well the service was from the waiter we had. She said you wouldn’t believe how good it made her feel when her customers would do that. It made her feel appreciated. Thanks for the comment and suggesting such a positive change 🙂

  2. Great post and exactly what I believe. Well, you’re more of an optimist than I. I used to be optimistic, but the little things of which you speak—the things people do and say when they think they’re anonymous and/or that they cannot be gotten to—those little things speak volumes about what lies beneath. I wish more people would read this blog and make a change. Great videos, too. What I think when I see chowderheads acting like, well, chowderheads, I think “you know, some day that person is going to die, and all they’ll have chalked up are a mountainous pile of negative chits.”

    We should all be taking lessons from those with little or no time left. What a difference that would make.

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