In spite of the ability to expose wrongdoing faster than ever before, people still choose to hate and to harm others. With everything we see around us, on social media, and the news, I started to consider what it truly means to be kind and decent to each other. It’s these values that can make a difference in our human experience. My hope is that they still are values held by many.
Guidance in Kindness
As a child, the one thing I remember the most is my mom telling me that she “wanted me to grow up to be a good person.” A fairly simple ‘marching order’ when you are 10 years old. However, as an adult, when you use your mother’s words as a backdrop to every decision and interaction you have in life, it can be a lot of pressure to live up to.
My parents did not come from money. In fact, poverty was probably the best way to characterize the experience of their youth. However, what they had, and have to this day, is a tremendous value system and sense of what it means to be good, kind, and generous people.
Passing Down to Future Generations
My respect for my parents is boundless and each day, both professionally and personally, I carry with me the importance of living a good life. And generationally, I have done my very best to ensure that my son leads his life with this same core belief system.
From the time that he was three years old, I have conveyed to my son that what I want most for him in this life is to be a confident, kind, and giving member of his community. I want him to be a good person – making his decisions using the same set of principles my mother asked of me.
None of this is easy. Over the years, there are words that I wish I had not uttered. At times, I have felt guilty along the way, hoping that I had not hurt someone I cared about or even someone I had just met casually. Being a good person takes work – and constant insight. Yet, it can be done.
Kindness in Everyday Life
There are many elements of kindness and decency. We can make these attributes a part of our daily lives. Random acts of kindness go a long way, and we can’t underestimate the influence we have on others. We can be generous with our time and our friendship, and share our good fortunes. All of this struck me when I recently learned about The Giving Pledge – a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.
I wonder if their moms said to them at an early age, ‘no matter how much you obtain in life, I want you to be good people.’ Read more here. It warmed my heart.