What is the last kind thing you said to someone? Better yet… What is the last random compliment you gave to a loved one or stranger?
I was recently on the other end of such kindness and it made me think. Truthfully, the person was just making a statement as an observer. The word was simply ‘diehard.’ What she didn’t realize is the simple usage of that word, the context in which it was used and the person who said it made it (in that moment) one of the best compliments I have received in a long time.
As an incessant over thinker and a mother...this naturally got me to thinking about life, language and how we use it. That’s a totally normal train of thought, right?
For those who know me or have followed my writing over the years, it’s no secret, I’m a words person. This is both a blessing and a curse. My filter is horribly lacking and that is not necessarily a good thing. I do, however, do my best at letting the kind words flow whenever possible. Some days it’s easier than others, but ultimately it really does matter.
I wish there were a way to make this a movement. A movement, similar to the ‘pay it forward’ concept which circles around (or so it seems) every holiday season. A movement which consciously challenges us to say something kind to someone every day, not just in passing. To really think and mean it as the words are said.
Language, it really is the simplest of things which holds such impact. Taking into account that the delivery is just as important as the words.
Dr. Maya Angelou was once quoted, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”
As time passes often times our memories don’t recount the exact words a person may have shared, we do recall how they made us feel.
We all have our ‘people.’ The people we know we can count on for brutal honesty. The friends or family who speak up when they know you are not able. The people who just seem to know just what you need and when you need it.
As I type those words images of loved ones (both family and friends) cross my mind. I recognize my good fortune as I see the faces of such amazing and selfless people.
At the same time, I cannot help but wonder and yes … think. Not everyone is this fortunate. Some people are islands, be it by choice or circumstance. This brings me back to this simple ‘idea’ of the kindness movement.
It would need a catchy name in order to go ‘viral’ and grow like wild fire as the ‘pay it forward’ movement did. ‘Kill ‘em with kindness’ … too graphic. ‘Say it mean it’ … too bossy. ‘Miles of smiles’ could be fun or ‘Make them Matter.’ If nothing else it’s a fun concept, one to start immediately and hope others embrace as well.
We’re each so busy and occupied with our faces in our ‘smart’ phones, reviewing our To Do lists, ‘Checking in’ on Facebook or texting a friend we forget to look up. We forget the smile we give a stranger may be the only one they see that day.
Everyone has a story. We may never know what that story is, but wouldn’t it be great to know that your kind word or random smile was the one thing which brought them hope or even just a good feeling.
I like to think so.
So there it is … my random thoughts on being a better you. For those who feel I’ve wasted three minutes of your time, Thank You for reading my thoughts. To the readers who continue to ‘follow’ me and relate on occasion to what I share, aren’t we fortunate? We can read. We can choose what and when we allow the random thoughts of a wordy mom into our lives.
Now as for me, I’m off to spread some kind words and a smile to a bunch of ‘random’ people. Some may wonder if I was dropped on my head as a baby, others may find it refreshing and maybe, just maybe ... it may make someone’s day as it did for this ‘diehard.’
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.