Another cornerstone of civility is at all times having an attitude of kindness. Words that are used to define kind are “of a sympathetic nature, loving, of a forbearing nature, showing a gentle considerate nature, and interest in another’s welfare.” While the “American Way” has us focused on striving to do and become whatever we want to be, to seemingly be successful no manner what you have to do, this truly can be more easily accomplished with the attitude of kindness. Just remember the Mary Poppins’ words “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
I would like to share just one example of the effects of kindness. I have just returned from the annual Convention of the Wisconsin State Chapter P.E.O. Over the last year our president had chosen the theme “Making a Difference, One Star at a Time.” Her premise was that each member of P.E.O. can make a difference in the organization by being kind in some way to another member. She had asked each chapter to ask each of their members to record over the year each time that they had been kind to a sister. These lists would be turned into the chapter President who would send them on to her.
As my chapter President I asked and reminded my chapter to do so, I did not receive any written lists. I know it is hard to list good things that you do. I did observe many facts of kindness throughout the year. Many of our members over this past year experienced a variety of serious health issues. One member would let the rest know and cards, food, and phone calls would be made to cheer and help. For those who can no longer drive, a member would arrange to pick her up to get to a meeting as well as other activities. If someone was unable to complete a task that they had agreed to, another would complete it for her. Thanks yous are always given. One member was encouraged to speak up for herself and did so beautifully. Responsibilities for the running of our chapter were accepted graciously. Issues with several viewpoints were resolved in a most civil manner. My recording secretary was always giving me that reminder of what needed to be done in a given month. We had an outstanding Christmas party of foods made by our social committee. I think you get the picture.
At Convention our President presented a summary of the lists that she did get. All these acts of kindness were occurring in chapters all over our state. She was letting us know that one person being kind just multiplies and multiplies. Our entire P.E. O. organization accomplished so much more with one act at a time. She had a marvelous side story that I want to share as I think that it says it all.
At a grocery store in our state, the manager in addressing the entire staff asked that each staff member reach out a little more with kindness. A young man who was a bagger, an individual with special needs, especially took this to heart. He wanted to do something, but he was not sure there really was anything that he could do. His family in their own act of kindness gave him encouragement. He decided that he wanted to give each person a thought for the day. Each day after work he would work on his message. One completed his family would type them on the computer and have copies for him to take the next day. Several weeks later, the manager noticed that his line was almost as long as the length of the store. He went to help people to other lines. None wanted to move. They wanted to stay in that line to get his message. At another time one customer told the manager that she used to shop one a week, but now she comes each day for that message.
Be kind to each other and so much more positives will happen.
Orlaine I. Gabert
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