Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Cruelty and Kindness

The young, beautiful blonde walked up to an awkward, gangly kid in the school hallway. She had short bobbed hair, deep brown eyes, and a gorgeous figure. She stood very close to him, touching him on the hand and looking into his eyes. She said, "I want you to know that I care about you, and I hope you have a wonderful day." His eyes widened, his heart raced, his entire mood transformed from shyness to exuberance. She jotted something in her notebook. She took a step back, and asked if he was okay. He stammered that he felt wonderful, and that was a very nice thing to say. "This is just part of my psychology class, it's an experiment to see how you would react," she said, walking away. Devastated, deceived, and let down, the young man shuffled to his next class. One of the players in this true story is related to me. I thought of it this morning while realizing how much influence people have on each other. I know that a kind word, whether in person or email, has the power to make my day. Consistent kindness builds friendship. The opposite is true, as mean people also make a difference in mood and activities; I tend to avoid those who are toxic with negativity and unkind things to say about others. Unless they're really funny, and have some sort of soft chewy center under all the crunchy cynicism. It's been said, anyone who is nice to you but mean to the waitress is NOT a nice person. I thought it was highly unnecessary, even cruel, for her to include the disclaimer that the interchange was only for a grade, not the person. It took a potentially lovely moment and transformed it into manipulation, using another person's good will for selfish reasons. For this post, I'd like to make a request of you, dear reader. Two requests, actually: First, tell a story of someone who made your day with just a word. Second, an assignment: go into your world, and find someone to give an encouraging word, a nice thought, a blessing. Tell us about it in the comments when you're done, won't you? (Oh, and don't tell your target of kindness that 'this is only an assignment.' It'll be our little secret.)

1 comment:

trinamick said...

My grandma was always great about commending people or saying some little thing to brighten your day. At home, I was always in trouble for not doing a task right. But at Grandma's, even if I didn't make the bed perfectly, she would always say, "Well, bless your little heart." That goes a lot further than criticism.

In regards to reciprocating, today I told my mother what an excellent meal she had made and that I appreciated being invited to lunch. Of course, now she just thinks I have a drinking problem...