The Small Act of Kindness
I sat down today with the full intention of writing something prolific. I was sure that my words could inspire, enlighten, and resonate with my audience. I was excited to share, but as I began to write I swiftly realized that my thoughts remain fractured, and fraught with frustration and angst. I am completely exhausted from the demands of these past eight weeks. I am restless, stressed, tired, and cranky. It is hard to be inspiring or even feel inspired when you are empty inside.
And I feel barren. I am not going to lie, my summer months were riddled with temper tantrums, criticisms, verbal abuses and assaults cast upon me by my [almost] four year old child, as well as far too many adults, who were individuals that I assisted at my place of work. Dealing with people, whether it is family, child[ren], friends, or strangers, can sometimes prove challenging. Often it requires an abundance of patience, empathy, kindness, compassion, and tact. For every objection cast upon you, you have to act with expediency, proficiency, and always with a smile. But what if these approaches prove utterly useless? Lets be clear, I never talk about my job, but today I need to express some frustration. I deal with masses that measure into the thousand, and those masses, of late, proved to be demanding, pushy, aggressive, and oftentimes rude. Now, multiply that by 5 shifts and top it off with a child [at home] that behaved pretty much the same way. It is difficult not to feel depleted, depressed, frustrated, and abused. My child I can forgive. He is growing, challenging his boundaries, experiencing transitions, and developing a new sleep pattern after recently outgrowing his naps. He has never adapted swiftly to change, and has always been a little sensitive and anxious. But he is a child, and it remains my job, as his parent, to teach him acceptable ways to handle his raw emotions. It takes time, fortitude, and patience, and so I can understand and accept why he has/had meltdowns and tempers. He is learning. What I cannot accept or excuse is when adults who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and those who are well into their senior years, are behaving fairly identical to that of a child. As an adult, you definitely know better. If I am expected to demonstrate social graces – no matter what personal strife I am struggling with in my life – why is that same expectation lost to those who receive it? Why should they be allowed to treat the very people who are helping them, with such aggression and disdain? Is our society so self-involved and dismissive that we cannot even show the smallest acts of kindness to others?
Please know that I do not mean to criticize my place of employment. It is an amazing establishment to be a part of. The managerial team is supportive and fair, the people I work with are inspiring, creative, and kind, and I know that I have definitely had the pleasure of making a positive impact on many of the crowd-goers. I have delighted in sharing smiles, laughter, anecdotes, and excitement with complete strangers; and it is all of these memorable moments that often make my work so enjoyable and rewarding. And so, it was shockingly disappointing that this summer seemed to bring out the absolute worst in so many individuals. Where has the happiness and joy gone?
Sadly, I have no answer to this. Not a one. I can hypothesize about it. Perhaps people are working too hard and feeling the financial constrictions of trying to make ends meet in an ever-demanding high-expense society, and therefore stressed; perhaps the frustrations of what is occurring politically – at home and around the world – is too much to bear and they feel anxious, helpless, and discouraged; perhaps they, or someone they love, are unwell and fighting through an illness; perhaps their marriage or partnership has faltered; or perhaps their day just did not unfold as planned. Whatever the reason, and whatever the problem, it does not pardon a person from behaving in a disrespectful manner to others. When I battled through breast cancer and was fraught with fear, I never stopped being kind. Being sick was not an excuse to be inconsiderate. I know I withdrew from many as I began my fight, but I never stopped smiling, finding joy, and being kind to others. I chose not to give into the darkness. I chose not to give in to the hell that is cancer. Because cancer is hell, and the experience of that made me want to pursue light, love, positivity, and laughter. I’m not saying I didn’t have my dark days, and that I didn’t cry, get angry, or get mad. Of course I did. I am a person. But I never stopped being kind to others; I never lost my compassion; and I always remained grateful.
And so my little [now] four year old started Junior Kindergarten last week; a whole new transition bringing on a new wealth of raw emotions. And with the introduction of Junior Kindergarten comes the introduction of lovely storybook lessons that are age appropriate, and reminiscent of the morals taught to all of us as young children when learning to be a part of this society. And, if we must impress upon our youth the importance of morals and social graces, then perhaps we, as adults, should actively abide by them. Be conscientious of your personal actions. After my very discouraging experience this summer of dealing with far too many churlish adults, I would like to impart this simple lesson from author Rana DiOrio: If we can all be kind to each other and to ourselves, our world will be more loving, caring, and harmonious.
So be kind. Be grateful. Say please. Say thank you. Say I’m sorry. Just have the courage to treat others the way you like to be treated.
The Small Act of Kindness. Published by Crystal Joy Hall