I was in a large box grocery store the other day where the lines wound around in snakes of frustrated, impatient shoppers when a new checker headed to a stand. She grabbed the cart of the woman in front of me and directed her to come to her line. As the woman tried to maneuver with her, another woman rudely cut in front and started unloading her groceries onto the belt. The woman shopper turned and shrugged to me as I let her back into her original place in line. “That was rude,” she muttered under her breath as she gave me a half smile for making room for her.
When did we become a nation where rudeness prevails? Is it just me or has it seemed to intensify as political strife divides us this year? It seems that everywhere I go people are more hurried, less tolerant and more critical. There are fewer smiles to each other, less friendly waves to our neighbors and even less tolerance than usual on our roadways. When did it become acceptable to be so unaccepting of the people around us?
I’ve heard the adage that you should always remember that when someone is rude to you, you should still be kind back. You never know what pain someone else is going through. Even though it has gotten harder lately to smile when no one is smiling, to let someone go in front of you or to take the time to talk to someone who needs an ear, what if we each tried a little harder to breathe kindness into an unkind world? Could the world become a little softer for our children? Could we change our corner of the world one smile at a time? Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I’m hopeful that one gesture or word can have a rippling impact around me.
I choose kind.