Growing up in our household, mom was the Sorting Hat.
You may recall that in J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book/movie the Sorting Hat determines the House (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin) new students are assigned to for their entire education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I was hoping for: “Funny,” “Creative,” or even “Smart.” Instead, mom said I was the “Kind” one. I was dumbfounded, which I guess immediately eliminated the other three adjectives/categories and proved her right.
Mom could tell I was disappointed and explained, “‘Kind’ is the greater quality if not the greatest of all qualities.” I laughed and said that she must be the “Funny” one. In all seriousness, mom said how I would someday see the word for the stellar attribute it is. Yeah, right.
Now, a hundred years later, I do see being kind as a gift. Many people are funny, creative and/or intelligent (all qualities I now possess; wink), but being kind is indeed a rarer quality.
Kindness embodies: compassion, wisdom, love for people and animals in general, and, if and when appropriate, humor to lighten an otherwise dire moment.
How did I get so “good” at being so kind? I follow the Golden Rule — “treat others as you want to be treated.” I would further clarify by amending it to: “treat others the way you want to be treated — well.”
If you’re kind to yourself, but not others, then treat others how you want to be treated. If you’re kind to others, but not yourself, then treat yourself as well as you treat others.
I also try to see everyone’s perspective, although this doesn’t mean condoning inappropriate/unlawful/unethical actions. It helps to see the child in everyone — especially in children, whose goal is “only” to have fun. Believe it or don’t, children aren’t trying to make your life more difficult. Keep in mind that you were probably a child at some point — and if you grow old enough, you may become like a “child” once again.
Some confuse kindness for weakness, but it’s the ultimate strength. Whether you believe Jesus was the son of God, a prophet or “only” a man, most of his actions demonstrated kindness. In truth, he is probably the most kind being and role model to ever exist.
I’m no saint (I’ve yet to perform the requisite two miracles, although I have performed one — convincing my son that greens are good for him), but I have been called a modern-day George Bailey. I even named my son after that kind character from my favorite movie, the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
Being kind elevates your spirit. People who volunteer lead healthier and happier lives. Volunteering builds your resume, helps you make life-long friends, and might even help you meet your soul mate. I made friends through volunteering and so did mom, my “Sorting Hat.”
This story is part of The Desire to Inspire Foundation mission. Join us, if you will, at desiretoinspirefoundation.org
Andrew Fumento AKA Andrew Bailey sits on the board of The Desire to Inspire Foundation. He is an award-winning copywriter, and broadcast director. He’s conceived & written more pro bono PSA campaigns (mostly video scripts and radio spots) than anyone in the multiverse! Andrew lives in the “Berkshires of Los Angeles” with his young son, George “Georgie” Bailey. You can learn more about Andrew at andrewfumento.com