Be Kind to One Another
My wife and I were on a Southwest flight this past Wednesday, heading to Tampa to spend Thanksgiving with two of our sons. The flight attendant on the flight was really funny, and actually made the normal “vital flight information” about how to wear your seat belt, or how to use your seat cushion as a flotation device worth listening to. She had some great one-liners…but I thought the best line from her comedy set was when she ended with, “Please sit back and enjoy your flight…and don’t forget to be kind to one another.”
Here it is a week later, and it is still fresh in my mind.
I know it is pretty simplistic in terms of how to live your life in conjunction with others. We know that things are “complicated”, things are “nuanced”, nothing is “black and white”…on and on it goes…the excuses we give ourselves as to why we couldn’t diffuse a situation by simply being kind.
Yet, how many things could be avoided if one person involved in conflict with another would simply choose to be the one who took the high road…the one who walked away rather than fueling the anger… the one who didn’t have to have the last word…the one who did not need to be right.
It’s funny; we think that in certain situations being kind is a sign of weakness. Yet, throughout life we come to find out that continuing to stay in conflict with someone changes us…it almost never changes THEM. Kindness seems to be something that once given, nearly always is something that comes back to you. Others know when they have pushed your buttons, and they brace for your hostile reaction. Completely turning the tables on them and showing kindness tends to disarm them…and in that moment, that old adage your mom told you about being able to get more flies with honey plays out.
Being kind isn’t about it being a gift we give to others. It is a gift we give ourselves. Knowing that you aren’t going to be easily be provoked, that you aren’t going to give up your joy; is freeing.
We view ourselves as powerless, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each of us is given the opportunity hundreds of times a day to ruin someone’s day. Our words are so powerful that a cutting remark could last a lifetime. Your actions can be the difference between life and death to someone you encounter. Yet, offering respect to someone who has not extended it to you, using the word “please”, saying “thank you”…even offering a smile to a stranger you encounter on the street can be life-altering.
Just think of how many times, on how many flights that flight attendant has uttered those simple words, “Be kind to one another.” Think of how many thousands of people, just like me, who were touched by her with such a positive message. And now I have shared her words with you…and perhaps you will share them with others. That lovely lady, in her own way, is positively changing the world one airplane at a time!
I will end with this. “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”