It may not be easy to speak kind words to everyone, but everyone needs to hear them. When I think about the inevitable truth that all of us will one day perish, then I am more motivated to speak charitable, diplomatic and thoughtful words to others. Knowing that all of us have a relatively short life span of time here on Earth among the living, I find it easier to go out of my way, make more of an effort and be a little bolder with gracious speech. Not perfectly, mind you, but at least I am more often driven with the purpose of speaking kindly, than rudely or even not at all. Someday, all of us will be gone and only the memories others have of us will last. This causes me to wonder, how do I want to be remembered?
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Funerals are a wonderful time to recall the goodness of another person, but why wait until then? Your friend, spouse or coworker who is being eulogized can no longer hear nor will they benefit from the thoughtful, tender and tactful words spoken about them. If we wait until the funeral, we’ve waited too long.
Consequently, there is no time like the present to grace others with gracious speech. There is no reason to shy away from telling others how much you appreciate them, point out a good quality you see in them or stand still long enough to listen to their story.
For example, I’ve been married to the same man for more than forty years, but my well of appreciation for him has not run dry. And though he already knows how much I value who he is and what he does for me, he never tires of hearing my considerate words. As a matter of fact, when I tell him thank you for helping me clean the house, do the dishes, fix the garage door opener, or any of the other numerous chores he does for me, he always puts his arms around me and smiles. Who would have thought that kind words beget such tenderness?
Then there is Plato who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I find this to be true of those with whom I work. From the custodian, to the librarian, the women in the lunchroom, the helpers on the playground and every teacher in my building, we all fight a hard battle.
Recently, I sat down for a few minutes to get some advice from another teacher about an altercation that happened between two of my students on the playground. I did not have to make an appointment with this professional because her door is always open. She is approachable, a ready listener and one whose heart is tender. When I finished telling my story, she not only gave me sound advice, but also offered her time as well. Her background lends itself to helping kids deal with their anger and she told me that I could send my kidos her way for ten minutes each morning so she could help them get a handle on their behaviors. It was not hard for me to formulate kind words to speak to her, nor was it hard for her to smile and say, “Thank you.”
Why bother with kind words? A word spoken kindly begets a kind response and a sweet memory is made.