Call Out For Kindness



Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, come sit by me.” When I was young I subscribed whole-heartedly to that principle. Being tough and self-reliant was highly prized in my formidable years. I don’t think that anyone would describe me as kind when I was a teenager.


Today it was important that I made it to church since it was the last Sunday my friend and church business manager Barbara Fletcher was going to be there. She is retiring and moving to Alabama to live closer to her two granddaughters. I have known and adored Barbara for years having had the pleasure of working on committees with her for at least the last fourteen years. I will miss her, especially her thoughtful kindness.


As I sat in church my minister Chris told a story about what his grandfather who at the age of 93 lost his wife of sixty-nine years. His Grandfather was unsure of what he had to live for. One day Chris went to visit him and he Grandfather called him into the room and said, “I know what I am supposed to do now.” Chris leaned in waiting to hear the secret to life. “I’m just supposed to be nice to people.” His grandfather lived another twelve years and must have made lots of people happy with his kindness.


After church I got a big surprise when I had an unplanned visit with Megan Ketch who was Carter’s babysitter for five years and is like my bonus daughter. Megan is a successful actress living in NYC. We talked about the work she was doing and how the world is changing to embrace kindness as a measurement for success. She said to me that now the goal she tried to live by is to be just a little kinder than even she thought she could be.


As I was making soup for my friend who had been sick I noticed this thread of the importance of kindness running through my day. It dawned on me that I too have come to value kindness so much more than I did as a young person. Now I am not talking about sickly sweetness or insincerity, but just plain ‘ole thoughtfulness. Doing something for someone else with no expectations in return.


Now don’t get me wrong, if a person drives me crazy I am much less likely to go out of my way to do them a favor, but I am also less likely to be unkind. I feel as if the universe is giving me a sign to push kindness just a little bit further. Big disclaimer here, I’m not giving up edginess or if I am particularly hormonal all bets are off, but maybe, just maybe I will catch myself before I say something not so nice and just keep it to myself.

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