It was already a rushed, chaotic school morning. Most of them are. Hustling five kids out the door, to four different schools.
The easy thing would have been to ignore our middle child. Or even easier still, rip her a new one as she delayed us getting out the door with her dug in heels.
She refused to put on this one particular jacket. What in the world could be the big deal about the jacket?
Thankfully, my wife was dialed in that morning. She knew there was something brewing under the surface besides simply refusing to wear the jacket.
It took a few really specific questions, but finally out poured, “But mom and dad, the last time I wore that jacket, (insert mean little girl’s name here) called me fat.”
Explains a lot.
That incident took place nearly a year ago.
And she carried that wound the entire time, without anyone knowing.
You can read my wife’s unbelievable response here, but a phrase surfaced in our home in the days that followed that chaotic, sad morning.
It won’t kill you to be kind.
Our schools, offices, neighborhoods, cities and world are filled with plenty of people that live with a judgmental, cynical, critical outlook on life.
People that believe it’s more fun and more protective to crush you or cut you down than it is to make the effort to encourage or build you up.
Or even if it's not outward rejection of others, it's
only looking out for #1.
And honestly, it’s easier to live life that way. Thinking that the world is out to get you, don’t trust anyone, and look out yourself.
But it won't kill our kids to be kind. It won't set them back, hold them down or let others leapfrog them on the path to success.
Can you imagine what our schools, sports teams and communities would look like if kids looked out for the interests of their peers more than they did for themselves?
What would be different about our neighborhoods if the groups of kids that gather to play encouraged each other instead of cut them down?
Would anything be different as our kids head off to college if a foundation of caring, kindness and love was poured deep into them in an effort to offset the negativity and cynicism that surrounds them?
It won’t kill them to seek out the kid in the lunchroom that sits by herself each day, afraid of initiating conversation with others.
It won’t kill them to look their teacher in the eye, say thanks for teaching us and smile as they leave for the day.
It won’t kill them to text that friend that they thought seemed a bit off at practice, like something may be wrong.
It won’t kill them to show respect to their mom and actually do what she asks them to do the first time.
It won't kill them to stand up for a buddy getting bullied on social media.
The examples could continue forever, you get the point.
But in an era where it’s seems like it’s getting cooler to be mean, sarcastic and cutting, it won’t kill them to be kind.
A lost art? Perhaps.
Impossible to bring back to popularity again? Not at all.