When my son was born, I remember saying to my husband that I had so many “wants” for him. My husband’s response was “I want him to be kind.” I have carried this with me for the past four years and I have grown to desire the same thing in our little Thomas. I have even prayed over him that God will help us to nurture him in a way that will allow him to grow into a kind man someday.

I was taught to be kind by my parents. When I was a teenager, I remember being in the car with my mother and driving past a lady who had clearly just finished washing her clothes at a laundromat. She had two large baskets of clothing that she could not carry at one time. She would walk about 20 yards with one basket, set it down, then walk back and get the other one. Then she would walk another 20 yards with the second basket, set it down, then walk back and get the other one. She was going to do this until she reached her house. My mother gasped when she saw this lady struggling. We stopped and asked her if she needed help. The lady explained that she had the process down and could make it home this way. My mother wouldn’t have it. Mom insisted that she allow us to help her. She finally agreed and we loaded up her laundry and made the five minute drive that would have likely taken her the rest of the afternoon to make. I can recite dozens of similar stories about my family.

Webster’s dictionary defines kindness as the quality or state of being gentle and considerate. Some other definitions I found include goodness of heart, serviceable, gracious and pleasant. What a beautiful word kindness is. While kindness seems easy to some, it requires a great deal of selflessness. It requires you to forget about your own agenda, desires and wants. For those that choose to be kind, the satisfaction and feelings that are gained from it makes it desirable. I read in a recent article that “we are all interdependent- we can’t experience anything without one another”. Unkind words and actions cause isolation. It has a ripple effect. Kindness brings us back together and gives us the experiences that we were meant to get out of life.

When my dad passed away, someone said that what he remembered most about my dad was that he had an amazing ability to be kind to and love people that weren’t very lovable. Right then and there I decided that is what I want people to say about me. Being kind will not guarantee us riches, but I believe it brings us so much more.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” –Dalai Lama