Sunday, February 3, 2008
Kindness Chronicles III
Driving home from my youngest son’s basketball game yesterday, we saw a bumper sticker that said “Individual thoughts lead to mass consciousness. Be peace.”
This morning, in the Opinion section of the Oregonian there was a piece written by Chauncey Canfield in which he pondered the question posed by so many mothers who have tried to reason their children out of certain undesirable behaviors by asking, “what if everybody…?”
These two encounters had me looking at group behavior from opposite ends of the spectrum and each time, I reached the same conclusion -- group behavior is individual behavior that had been multiplied, making a HUGE difference.
Which leads me to ask, “What if everybody decided to be kind?” This is question posed by Claudia (at On a Limb) who inspired Everyday Kindness.
Imagine that world for a moment.
That is the one that I want for my children.
And so, I continue my quest to be kind. Every day. Some days it is easier than others.
At the beginning of the week, I was in a good place. I was able to let go of the anger and resentment I feel towards Patrick and actually cleared my mind enough to come up with a list of all the things about my relationship with Patrick for which I am thankful. I’ve read that list every day and have sent kind and loving thoughts his way.
Today, I ran out of kind and loving thoughts for him. Anger and resentment were happy to see me return and they wrapped me in their warm embrace. So warm, in fact, that I actually had steam coming out of my ears! I made an emergency call to my friend, Wanda, and her soothing words and much cooler head talked me back down to a more rational place.
I was able to go all week without any complaining. Actually, it was eight days! Today…well, today happened, and so tomorrow, I will start on day one. Again.
I thanked the referee at my daughter’s basketball game for her efforts in calling the game. Not only did she call the fouls, but she also made sure that the girls behaved in a sportsmanlike manner. It was nice to see an official who cared as much about the girls’ character as she did about the rules.
I caught my children doing nice things at least a dozen times this week. I made sure to let them know that I had noticed. It felt good to notice something besides the open bag of potato chips left in the TV room, the unmade beds, and the clothes that didn’t make it up from the laundry room.
As I launch into my fourth week of everyday kindness, I will also be launching myself into the world of the forty-hour work week. I wonder if the interaction with a wider variety of people will make being kind easier or more difficult.
Time will tell.