~Marian Wright Edelman
Cindy La Ferle
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It's not just me. Everyone's mourning the loss of kindness and civility. Within the past couple of years, especially, there's been a remarkable increase in thoughtless behavior and cruel comments -- a general lack of respect that erodes our very souls. It starts at the top with belligerent political leadership and filters down to the angry neighborhood jogger who knocks you over on the sidewalk and doesn't say, "Excuse me."
One friend calls it "The Era of Nasty" -- and we all wish it would end right now.
With that in mind, I've been making an effort to practice deliberate acts of kindness -- every day. I smile more at strangers and lend a hand when I see a need. When I catch people doing something wonderful, I tell them so. If I've received exceptional service at a local business or a restaurant, for instance, I express my appreciation verbally as well as with a generous tip. I might even send an email or a letter of gratitude to the manager.
Over time, the simplest lack of courtesy can wear out our personal relationships, too.
If we take an honest inventory of how we treat our friends and family members -- the relationships we take for granted -- we're all guilty of falling short sometimes. How often do we neglect to respond to emails and texts, or call to check on a friend who's been ill? How often do we forget to reciprocate a favor? How often do we thank our kids or parents for the joy they give us? Or compliment our spouse when it's sorely needed? How often do we treat others the way we want to be treated?
Rude comments, incivility, road rage, and violence have become part of our new normal. Now, more than ever, kindness is a spirit-lifter. We can't change the graceless or insensitive behavior of others, but we can try to make a difference by spreading kindness to people within reach. Everything starts at home. ~Cindy La Ferle