Friday, April 6, 2012

Are We Too Busy for Kindness?

In the spirit of the Easter Holiday, I've been thinking a lot about how times have changed since I was a kid.

While leaving a store last night, I had my hands full and couldn't open the door.  A teenager came up on the other side, opened the door, and raced into the store, as though someone were going to beat him inside and get the last of something he wanted if he took two seconds to help me by holding the door.  I shook my head, wondered what had become of society, and went back to my struggle of figuring out how to exit.  Then a... hmmm... we'll call him a 'more mature' gentleman, appeared on the other side of the door.  He opened it, made a sweeping gesture with his arm to the world outside, smiled, and said, "After you, miss."  I smiled widely, thanked him (to which he responded, "Think nothing of it"), and made my escape to the parking lot beyond.

This is what I worry about.  We live in such a "get it now, on demand" society, many people are not even willing to take a few seconds out to help a fellow human being.  Common manners seem to no longer be a priority. 

My brother can never decide if he is a true believer in faith, but he often tells me his personal theory on getting into heaven.  He says if there is a God, He doesn't care about how many times you go to church.  It's my brother's opinion that God counts how many times you let another car out into traffic.  

It's an interesting theory, really, when you think about it.  In the end, are we really judged on how many things we did that appeared to be right?  Or are we judged on our inner intentions, the number of people we hold a door for, the number of times we give money to the beggar on the corner... the number of people we wave in front of us in traffic?

Growing up, we rarely went to church, but Mom had three cardinal rules:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (which went along with Treat thy neighbor as thyself).  Judge not, least ye be judged.  And finally, Thou Shalt Not Tell a Lie. 

I remember her saying these things all the time.  To me they translated to:  Be nice to everyone (even if they are hard to get along with), mind your own beeswax, and always tell the truth.  Honestly, these were so ingrained into my brain, I had a hard time even teasing someone, as that was telling a lie.  Do young people not understand these rules?  Is everyone so busy text messaging and listening to their MP3 players and playing with their Smart phones that they only care about themselves and the next cool thing?  It's a scary thought. 

I think that's part of the reason I like fiction and writing.  My hero will always open car doors, hold a lady's arm, shield her from danger (okay, maybe not at first, some heroes have rough edges, but they learn).  My heroine can be a caring person, concerned with the well-being of others (she can open doors and hold arms too...if she needs to). 

This Easter (and beyond) I want to focus on the true meaning, not the hype put out by the stores to get you to buy new dresses, shoes, and chocolate bunnies (although I'd never say 'no' to a Cabury Creme Egg--yum!).  To me, it's about caring for one another:  Helping an elderly lady put her groceries into her car, taking soup to a sick neighbor, calling a friend just to let them know I'm thinking about them, sitting down to a dinner surrounded by my family.

Whether you are a believer, sitting on the fence of faith, or a nonbeliever in heaven, God, and Jesus, to me the message is universal.  Kindness is an art that shouldn't be lost.

And my personal belief on what life should be about?


Thank you to everyone who is following along and reading my posts, encouraging me in my writing, and helping me along the way!  It means the world to me!  Feel free to leave a comment.  What have you encountered?  Is there still more kindness in the world than "me" mentality?  I sure hope so!  It warms me every time I start to think there is no kindness left, and then someone appears and holds the door :-)

Happy Easter everyone! 

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