I was part of a Twitter chat today based on a NaBloPoMo writing prompt about kindness. I don't do NaBloPoMo because, besides all the necessary things I must do to function as a human being in the world, I can't think of anything I'm able to successfully do for 30 days in a row.
I've said it be before and I'll keep saying it. Kindness matters. Always.
I know how easy it is to remember meanness. I know how easy it is to be thrown off track by one critical comment. I know how the things that are said and done stick with us and try to eat away all the good. The first person who ever said that sticks and stones may break our bones but names will never hurt us was an idiot. Names hurt. Mean comments hurt. Slights. Lies. Omissions. Secrets. They all hurt. They make us question the very core of our being.
Meanness is like a cannonball. It's big and splashy and loud and soaks everything in the immediate area.
Kindness often isn't like that. Kindness is quiet. Kindnesses are usually small. While we might rant about a moment of meanness for days to our friend, an act of kindness often only gets mentioned softly if we recall to mention it at all. Meanness is hard, kindness is soft.
If meanness is a cannonball, kindness is skipping rocks. Until the rock is out of our hand, we don't know if we threw it exactly right. We don't know if it will skip three times or five. Every skip is another small splash, another set of ripples.
The thing about kindness is we often don't see the ripples. We don't see how people carry kindess forward. Maybe they shovel a neighbour's drive way. Maybe they compliment the mom in the grocery store who is struggling. Maybe because you left a nice comment on their blog, they've gone on and left three more. Maybe they tell someone they did a good job.
Cannonballs are big. Ripples are small. It takes a lot of kindness -- a lot of skipped stones making small ripples at the same time -- to drown out meanness.
We don't know where kindness will take us. We don't know where it will take the person to whom we're being kind. Each act of kindness is only the first skipping of a stone, but if we all pass that forward -- if we keep the stone skipping -- I know kindness can outdistance meanness.
Kindness matters. Always.