What are you going to be when you grow up?” Most of us remember being asked that question as a kid. Talk about pressure!
But the fact is that in this day and age we are presented with more options for exhilarating careers than ever before. The choices we make in fulfilling that early inquiry begin to define who we are. That simple question is expanded when we are older with the adult version, “So, what do you do?”
But the answer to this perpetual question doesn’t magically tell the inquirer everything they need to know about us. Although a career may well define our passions or interests,it doesn’t reveal much about who we really are. What if, the next time someone asked “What do you do?” instead of answering by way of a profession or title, we simply said,“I try to be kind to everyone I meet.”
My sweet mother was the very definition of kindness. She embraced kindness as a career choice! (Those of you who knew my mom are nodding your heads right now!) It seemed to everyone that her goal in life was to make everyone around her feel loved, to feel important and special. Whenever she spoke with someone, from friends at church to the cashier at the grocery store, from bank tellers to my dad’s business associates, she would remember details about what people had told her and conversations they’d had. When she’d see them again, she would bring up things they had discussed on the previous visit. She’d ask about their kids by name, mention their ailing parents’ illness or whatever big event was about to happen in their life. One time I asked her how she did it. Her answer was simple. She said, “It’s a choice I make to love them and to care about them.”
What kind of world would we have if everyone acted this way? If we listened with our hearts and came to really understand one another there would be less differences and more commonality. We’d come to a level of acceptance that would end fights and instead thoughtfulness, empathy and compassion would envelop us.
In a world where we really can be anything our hearts desire, why don’t we strive to put virtues on the top of our list? Qualities like integrity, charity, love, honor, and simple kindness have the power to change lives on a scale never before achieved. Like a trail of glitter that leaves its path clearly marked, such virtues carve a lasting impression into the human experience. They not only uplift those we encounter but are, in fact, stepping stones on the path that lead us towards truly living a life worth loving.
Bottom line, just remember what my Mama always told me: “You’ll never regret being too kind.”