Tuesday, March 15, 2016

74. Be Kind

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that said, “Make America Kind Again.” I thought that hit the tone of things these days. Most people forget that the fifth point of the Boy Scout law is “kind.” I’m guessing that’s probably not the first thing people associate with the Boy Scouts.

There’s a song I’ve been listening to where they sample a song with the chorus, “Don’t you take my kindness for weakness.” (The song is “Kindness for Weakness” by Dilated Peoples.) While I don’t agree with much on the side of John Kasich, I like that his campaign has focused on a platform of taking the “high road.” That is, at least compared to some people.

I just don’t understand the evolutionary advantage of being a jerk. Among the people that I have remembered most in my life, I would not consider any of them jerks. I’m not saying they were all kind all the time, but when it came down to situations where I needed help, they all responded with a listening ear and some empathy.

I think that’s why I’m starting to enjoy women’s sports a little more. I like following the US women’s national soccer team a lot because they all seem like people who want to see the sport grow. I’m sure lots of male athletes do as well, but women, for some reason, have to be positive ambassadors for their sport. You can argue whether that’s a good or a bad thing, and maybe it will change in the future, but for right now I like that they have a welcoming approach to the game. If I had a daughter, I’d definitely want them to play soccer.

I hate hammering on this subject, but it bubbles to the top of my mind almost every day: why are we so angry this campaign season? Why do we have to be so mean? Why can’t we be nice and have constructive conversations where there is vigourous, yet polite and respectful, exchange of ideas?

I guess we could blame a lot of things. The siloing of our media. The rigged, even if improved, state of the economy. The violent culture we live in. It’s a whole lot of things.

I really liked the Lenten message from Father Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest, and the editor of America magazine. It’s a short video with a good message: Be Kind

You can acheieve that in three simple ways: don’t be a jerk, honor the absent, give people the benefit of the doubt. I like to think I’ve got the first one covered, but I will admit that I have my moments where I write people off. Honor the absent is a tough one. I know I’ve talked about people behind their backs.

And giving the people the benefit of the doubt. That’s a tough one. I’m trying to put myself in a mindset that everyone running for president is doing it with the best intentions. Though, I’m not so sure about Trump.

I think an easy way to achieve all of those things would be to stay off the internet.

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