I recently read a very interesting article. It was about kindness (or
lack, thereof) in our society. Think of your own life and how many times
in a week (or even a day) you feel irritated, impatient or short-tempered
with other people, perhaps your own spouse or loved ones or complete
strangers. I think we’ve all been there. Maybe someone in a checkout line
is taking longer than we think he or she should or traffic is moving at a
turtle’s pace and we are convinced it is because of a particular motorist.
Regardless what specific detail, moment in time or perspective prompts our
ill-feelings, I think most of us would agree that the world could use a
bit more kindness. The author of the article I mentioned earlier spoke of
driving behind a certain vehicle in traffic. In the rear window of the
vehicle was a large poster with the following painted words: Learning to
drive a stick. Sorry for any delays. Thank you, for your patience.
The author spoke of how seeing the sign instantly transformed his emotions
from feeling irked and impatient to feeling kind and accepting toward the
driver whose vehicle had indeed been shifting into gear and moving slower
than an experienced driver might have.
The situation prompted the author to think about life in general and how
we just never know what another person is dealing with or what hidden
issues or problems he or she might have that are causing him or her to act
a certain way?
What if everyone wore a sign? Would it make us act nicer toward one
another? Imagine if you were behind that person in the checkout who
appeared to be holding up the line when you noticed a sign on his or her
shirt, saying: Apologies ahead of time. I just lost my job and am trying
to get enough food for my kids for the money I have in my pocket. Would
you still feel irritated or impatient at the delay?
It’s logical to assume that most people have some sort of hidden problem
or issue that may be wearing on their thoughts or affecting their ability
to carry out their daily tasks and duties. Why is that we are willing to
be kind only if we are fully informed of those facts? Wouldn’t it be great
if we were just as kind while still in the dark about what each person
crossing our paths on a given day might be dealing with behind closed
On the flip side, would you really want to have to wear a sign telling the
world about your own private issues and problems? Would you be willing if
it means people would be kinder to you?
As a new year approaches, let’s all keep in mind that although it will
likely be a rare occasion (such as the author of that article encountered)
that we will be granted inside views of other people’s lives through
signage of some sort, we can move forward in life knowing that even though
the person in front of us, sharing an office, on television or next to us
in the church pew may not be wearing a sign, it doesn’t mean he or she is
breezing through life problem-free.
If we can choose our thoughts, words and deeds based on the assumption
that most people we meet are dealing with some type of suffering,
challenge, sorrow or issue in life, then perhaps we will be kinder, more
patient and helpful toward our fellow man.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.