Sunday Inspiration: Kindness

Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving… Since…your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up, Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness.  But there is also a cure.  So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

These wise words, delivered by George Saunders, a noted writer, as part of his convocation address at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Science this spring, were quoted in a column by Chautauqua Institution president Tom Becker in a recent column as a reminder to all of us to “Be kind today.  And keep it up.”

We can so easily be overwhelmed by all the problems in the world and in our own lives, but I know from my own experience that simple acts of kindness can be both satisfying and successful.  I also know how easy it is to forget.

Wouldn’t it be great if at least once a day we suggested to ourselves nothing more complicated than:  “Be kind.”  Maybe a sign on a bathroom shelf or inside a kitchen cabinet as a reminder?  Those words might pull us toward  the smallest act of kindness.  And who knows where that might lead?

Be kind.

How powerful.


  1. Lynn Ross on August 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Emilie, this is so true. Thank you for posting it.

  2. SueAnn Beer on August 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    When my son was in lower elementary school, there was a crossing guard that he did not like, because he thought she was mean, she never smiled, she seemed to yell at the kids. and he told me he did not want to cross there with her, and what should he do? a mom, I could not tell him MY feelings, I had to teach him to learn HIS feelings, and all I could think of was for him to tell her good morning, and smile, and good afternoon, and smile. after a few days, he came running into the house and was so happy and excited. She LIKED me! She said, see you tomorrow!!! and from 1 st grade on, she was his biggest fan and he learned he did like her and she was not a mean person! Fast forward about 20 years, and he is studying in seminary and of course there are mean people there too…..he called one day complaining about a person, and I said, remember the crossing guard? Give it a try…..Of worked! That person was no longer mean to him, and they got along just fine…my son said,why can’t everybody learn when they are little, like I did? well…sometimes, to be kind, one has to be taught, and it is not taught so much anymore…I am glad to see someone else is teaching it! I only touch one son and one husband…but who knows how many they will touch, as does this George Saunders…….being kind, means never living with regrets, or pain…..being kind is living in the here and now, and the tomorrow……not the yesterdays.

    • Emilie Richards on August 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Thank you. What a wonderful story to share with us.

  3. Lorraine Thacker on August 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you for the reminder, what a good idea.

  4. Alva on August 12, 2013 at 3:16 am

    The daily prayer at my son’s K-8 school was the simple verse “Make me dear Lord polite and kind to everyone I pray. and may I ask you Lord how you find yourself today?” I have always loved the simplicity of this. Being polite and kind is one of the best lessons we can teach our children.

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