Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Always be kinder than necessary

There was a poignant column by Larry Elder on WND today entitled "My apology to my junkyard dawg dad." It revealed the hardship and sacrifice behind his father's rages and beatings. Please, go read the column. It's worth it.

But it was one of the comments at the end that struck me. A fellow wrote,

Larry Elder's father is a superb reason all of us--ALL of us!--need to be mindful how we treat others and keep our judgements in check. "Always be kinder than necessary...." After all, we never know what private Hells people are battling that we cannot see. The rude waitress may only have been rude that day--was she grappling with a family tragedy and trying to do her job at the same time? Give the benefit of doubt when dealing with family, friends and strangers...(just don't be a fool about it and put oneself in danger with the obvious troublemakers!)


I can think of innumerable times when I was ruder than necessary to those who were rude to me. Or of times when I was just plain rude, period, to those who certainly didn't deserve it. Thinking back, it makes my cheeks burn in embarrassment. Haven't we all had those moments?

Such simple words, aren't they? Always be kinder than necessary. After all, this person is correct -- we never know what's going on in someone else's life that could be causing them to act unpleasantly.

I'll try.


  1. Patrice, the link is broken.

    1. Thank you, it should be fixed now. Give it a try.

      - Patrice

  2. ALWAYS be kinder than necessary.

    And the worse the situation, the more important it can become. Those times when the other person is so far over the edge that pretty much ANY response on your part might be justified, is when you have to take a deep breath and REALLY go the extra mile. As difficult as it can be.

    This invaluable advice is often given to those who go about their daily lives prepared and equipped to defend themselves. Being kinder than necessary, giving more room than is strictly called for, going the extra mile in word and demeanor can pay big dividends if you end up having to act in self-defense. Looks good for the witnesses, the cops, and the judge. It can make all the difference.

    Of course it goes without saying that you do not carry this "other cheek" business so far that you place your life in real jeopardy because you gave up too much ground to a dangerous person.

    Or as the Special Forces folks like to say, "Be polite, be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

    Jeff - Tucson

  3. In high school, there was a girl who, for whatever reason, seemed to despise me. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why and what I'd done to earn her passive-aggressive rage since we barely knew each other. She destroyed my property and school assignments, told people horrible lies about me, and then ignored me to my face as if she wasn't responsible. Back then I was the kind of kid who just wanted to blend into the wall. I was so painfully shy that it took months of this before I was finally able to fight back. Let's just say when I finally found my voice, it wasn't one I'm proud of as an adult. But our only conversation stopped her behavior toward me, and we both moved on.

    Move forward many years to the beginning of facebook, and I receive a message from her out of the blue asking how I've been. Knock me over with a feather. So I replied in a very neutral, short way and was shocked by her response. Basically she wanted to make sure it was me, and then begged for my forgiveness. She'd been carrying all that nonsense since high school and wanted to explain and apologize.

    What no one knew was that after her mother died of cancer, she became (in jr. high school) a mother to her several siblings. Her alcoholic father heaped abuse on her and the kids, and drank himself into oblivion on a regular basis. To top it all off, he barely put a roof over their heads, and they had no support system from family. No one knew what those kids were going through. She was also the kind of kid who just wanted to blend into the wall, and protect her siblings, and so she said nothing and became an adult and "mother" waaaay to soon. She told me all of this without asking for my pity. She just wanted me to understand that none of her behavior had a thing to do with me.

    We are friendly acquaintances today, and by all accounts, she is a loving wife, mother and grandmother. After all these years, it's made me look at people differently. To put it another way, I never had to earn my Father's grace, and it isn't up to me to make people earn it from me. It's a gift that should be given freely.


  4. lisa said it all...sometimes all it takes to make things better for yourself or others is to simply be kind.