How fortunate I am to have enjoyed so much of the work of Groucho Marx. From his films and tv appearances, must folks think of him as a very funny man, but he was also very wise. Said he: “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
May 29, 2017 is Memorial Day, a federal holiday here in the United States on which we remember the women and men who died while serving in our country's armed forces, and it is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. How appropriate that the two should fall on the same day. When I think of service to our country, I can't help think of Kennedy's stirring words "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
Two friends that I seldom see, asked if I might want to meet them for coffee yesterday morning. Wonderful! I love chatting with friends over a nice hot cup of joe. We all arrived at just about the same time, and planning on just getting a tall dark roast drip coffee, I waited behind them as they ordered. One said "Have you ever had the breakfast bagels here? The sausage ones are especially good." Good idea! "I think I'll get one with my coffee," I replied. They stepped away from the cash register and I stepped up, ordering my drink and food. "Oh they already ordered (and paid) for you," the cashier said. Nice conversation followed, as I had anticipated, but they having paid for me was a kind a lovely surprise.
We always remember the good stuff, right? I can remember those wonderful moments when folks did really kind things for me, and I also remember when I witnessed their kind acts toward others. You know what? I can also remember the reaction to things I have done for others. it might have given them joy, but I think it gave me even greater joy seeing their happiness. That is truly unforgettable.
Fighting just about every day somewhere in this world, and so much loss of life this week, including a bomb set off at a Manchester concert killing 22 people including many youngsters and an attack on Coptic Christians early this morning in Egypt has killed at least 23. Why? Has our world become evil? Have love and kindness disappeared? I hope not! I really think if we try, we can make this a better world. I really think if we try - if we ALL try, we can spread good instead of evil.
The actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, was also a poet and philosopher. One of the most profound things Lee is known to have said is "Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do."
Someone asked me about the fortune that is displayed next to the messages here each day. I thought I had mentioned it before, but it actually came inside a fortune cookie about the time I began writing this. The simple message "From now on your kindness will lead to success," seems like a good moto to me!
So much hate and so much negativity seems to be all around. For as simple a thing as attending an Ariana Grande concert to be considered dangerous - to be risking your life, is very hard for me to even comprehend. Where did the love go? Have we stopped caring about others? Have we forgotten how to be kind and caring? Please tell me I am wrong. Please tell me that the world is going to return to a safe and loving place.
"The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up." -Harvey Milk, 1978
Thinking about changing your personality or your hair color or how you occupy your time? Why? Are you making a change for YOU? If you are doing it for others, think about that hard and long before doing it. Seriously. Don't change so that people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love for who you really are. Sometimes the only change that is necessary, is someone's point of view.
With several celebrity suicides in the news recently I was thinking about the importance of suicide prevention, and also kindness toward the vulnerable and to those who survive. I was just reading about a Utah woman, who after losing her husband to suicide, has been surviving his death through the kindness that has been shown to her family. Kindness makes a difference. The word needs to be spread that life is worth living and that things can be better, especially when others care about you.
Basketball superstar Jeremy Lin is someone I always find inspiring. Lin said "I think right now the way society's going, I think role models are important, and kids need direction. If I didn't have that direction growing up, who knows what I could be doing, because I've been lost many times in my life, and I've had to have someone guide me back on the right path."
This International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is held on May 17 every year, is a day I wish weren't necessary, but as long as there is hate and prejudice and inequality, today, and other days like this must continue so that folks can get together and reach out to one another, and with kindness and love put an end once and for all to homophobia and transphobia.
One kind word can make someone's day! (Of course one mean word can ruin the day). Think about it. We're not talking about spending a lot of money, or requiring a lot of time, or even putting in great effort. It is so very simple. It just takes one - just one kind word, and you can bring happiness to someone else.
I have a friend who reminds folks at every Mother's Day to remember their moms, be she among the quick or the dead. Indeed. Think too about those friends of yours who have lost a parent during the previous few years, and be there for them. The first few Mother's Days can be tough when mom isn't around anymore.
Personally I'd rather show my mom that I love her every day! On the old Captain Kangaroo tv show, they used to sing a song called "It's another be good to mommy day." I agree! I don't need a special holiday to appreciate my mom! The same is true with grandmothers, aunts, and even folks who are like a mother to you.
You have probably heard of kind bars. They are healthy snacks - energy bars, and have become quite popular. I'm not promoting them (although I should - they not only taste good, but are good for you), but a funny image just popped into my head. Instead of thinking of a supplemental bar containing cereals, nuts and such, I was picturing that type of bar where folks go for a cocktail, but instead of libations the bartenders dispense kindness and various ways. Oh wait! That might describe this blog. WE are a kind bar!
Too much Candy Crush for me lately! Really. I seem to have become sweeter than ever. I know I shouldn't be patting myself on the back, but I just seem so incredibly happy, and each day is happier! (I wonder what will happen when Candy Crush becomes a tv show with Mario Lopez. Everybody will have the sweetness then)!
I can kinda think of many kinds of kind - can you? Haha! Yes, I know, kindness is a way of life - a showing of care and concern for others, and yes, there are many "kinds" or ways to do this. In fact, I think the ways are never-ending!
Letha Sines is someone I will never forget. She was my sixth grade teacher and gave us so much! My aunt, who later became a teacher also, was a student of Miss Sines too. Even my sister had the great experience of this wonderful teacher, although by her year in sixth grade, she had become Mrs Letha Munson. I fondly remember Lou Ella Gridley who taught me in fifth grade too, and Mrs Doyle from the fourth grade. I appreciate them all, and my numerous friends and relatives who went into teaching. Such a giving profession!
If you read this every day, you know that I always have something different to say about kindness, but there is so much more that what I might share here. Would you be so kind as to share your thoughts with us as well? I'd love to hear some other ideas! Using the comments section below, write whatever seems to fit relating to being kind. Thanks for sharing!
I was at a morning gathering yesterday, with the Mayor of the small town where I am currently living. Sometimes political events can be difficult. This one was the opposite. Everyone was kind and courteous to the others and our conversation was always positive. Perhaps we should have made a diagram for others to follow!
We can plan all sorts of things to show kindness to others, but sometimes the best acts of all are ones we don't plan ahead of time. There's something to be said for spontaneity - let the moment guide you. Of course that is much easier when you are always someone who does nice things for others!
Mother's Day is coming this month and Father's Day next month. Have you ever thought about Creating extra holidays to celebrate your parents? You could include grandparents too, along with aunts and uncles and maybe even close friends. Do a "Nana Appreciation Day" or a "My dad is special Day." It can be as simple as declaring the date of your special holiday and perhaps creating a nice sign or writing a note of thanks. You can enlist other family members to join you. Design some "coupons" to give our for an extra special hug or unlimited kisses. Get creative and truly make someone's day.
Look up into the sky, and think about this wonderful Eskimo Proverb: “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”