Kind words matter. Last evening, I witnessed this first-hand when my daughter and I were sitting by the lake eating ice cream, taking in the last few moments of a sunny Sunday evening before sunset. A family was sitting at a picnic table nearby, and I could hear a young child crying. As the child clearly expressed some sort of discontent, one of the adults, possibly a grandparent, kept making sarcastic remarks to the child, which only appeared to make the child more upset. This went on for what seemed like a long time until another adult from the family approached the table (maybe the granddad?) and spoke kindly to the child. This man asked the child if the next time they went to McDonalds, would he want a “Happy Meal” or a “Sad Meal?” The child stopped crying and proceeded to get into a conversation with this person about wanting to be happy and it seemed to all end rather peacefully. Not knowing the situation that preceded the crying, I cannot sit in judgment, but it was evident that this kinder, quieter approach yielded better results than a piling on of sarcasm.
It’s good old summertime, and while we have waited a long time in Central New York for the temperatures to rise and for time outdoors, let’s remember to keep our cool both by drinking plenty of water but also by keeping our tempers in check. We can choose to be a people of peace if we stop and think before we speak. When using electronics, we also can follow that same rule of thumb before replying to an email or text. Before posting anything on social media, we can ask ourselves the following important questions:
T—Is it TRUE?
H—Is it HELPFUL?
I—Is it INSPIRING?
N—Is it NECESSARY?
K—Is it KIND?
Maybe the older I get, I am just turning into a big softy, but I literally cringe when I hear people speaking unkindly to one another or about one another. While I am the first to admit I enjoy watching entirely too much television, I also will not hesitate to change the channel if I start to hear a barrage of insults, lately being on the news and coming from twitter accounts. What kind of message are we sending to our kids?
We have the entire summer ahead of us to refresh, to restore, to unwind, to grow. Let’s dust off those books we’ve been planning to read, or pick up a deck of cards and teach our little ones how to play Crazy 8’s. I’d like to finally figure out how to truly skip rocks at the lake! Let’s be kinder and gentler to ourselves so that we can be kinder and gentler to each other. And when we find ourselves becoming sullen and surly, let’s take a time out or ask for some help. None of this is rocket science, friends! Love one another.