Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, November 28, 2016

This I believe: Kindness is Key

Final First Installment:

I often sit at home wondering how I’m going to write an essay (particularly my 3,500 word long History essay’s on World War I) and end up being stumped, procrastinating it until the night before the due date, and then finishing it off mediocrely in a downward spiral of coffee, tears, and anxiety. However, not this one (I pray to myself unconfidently). Writing a paper, or blog post even, on one-hundred percent on my beliefs and thoughts couldn’t be hard, right?
Anyways, back to the actually point of this paper (blog post?): This I believe. I sat thinking about what exactly I believe, and if I do believe in anything, how do I actually put any of it into words. So I thought for a while, walked a little bit, had a bit of a existential crisis, and came to the simple point of kindness. So, this I believe: kindness is key. It was the Dalai Lama who said, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible", and this I believe is to be true. With out the kindness of others I don't think the world would be the same. I think many people look at the negativity in the world and they let it harden them. Watching the news on television always seems to have this effect. We watch and learn of all the negativity that had happened that day, focusing only on the tragedies, never on the simple good things that occur daily, and I would argue much, much more than the bad things.
Kindness never has to be a grand gesture. You don't have to be as dedicated as the Dalai Lama to create more happiness and positivity in the world (although, imagine if we all did try to be like him). Kindness is as simple as saying hi to a friend, smiling to strangers, or offering compliments to your class mates. Just yesterday, I was at the line at Starbucks when a stranger offered to pay for my drink. And in Starbucks, when a latte is five dollars, that means a lot. Simple gestures are the most essential part of kindness.
I think the most special part of being kind is when it comes from strangers. My life has been constantly affected by the simple kindness of strangers. I remember just turning sixteen, and I was driving to Nashville for the first time, and my car broke down on the side of a major interstate. I had never been in a situation like this before, and had never learned how to fix cars. However, within minutes, a stranger pulled over besides me, and helped me. If they hadn't, I might have not had help for hours until a tow truck would be able to come.
I remember being a child who constantly found themselves lost from their parents. I could never stay still, and eventually I was shamefully put on a child leash, most likely resulting from this next situation. I was probably four years old, and my family decided to take me and my sister to New Orleans. Now, I have no idea why my parents decided to take us to the location most known for a holiday that capitalizes on over-drinking, but that's besides the point. I remember being with my sister, who's four years my senior, and we were walking through the main streets of New Orleans, generally being bored because New Orleans was not exactly a kid friendly place. We decided to play hide-in-seek while our parents went through some of the shops, and eventually we found ourselves lost in the middle of an unknown city. Despite our mischievousness, the moment we realized we were lost, we both burst into tears. While most tourists stared in disbelief on why there were two snotty nosed kids crying in the middle of the streets, two men from a Chinese restaurant immediately came to our rescue, inviting us into their store. They gave us food, and allowed us to calm down before they began searching for our parents. Eventually we found each other, and the two men gave us two stuffed animal rabbits, which we both have today. If it wasn't for those two men, and our lack of awareness of "stranger danger", we probably would have not found our parents as easy as we did.
I remember being in middle school and being faced with my first real bullying experience. There was a girl, let's call her Mandy, who many of the kids disliked for whatever reason. One thing I've learned on my eighteen years of life, is that kid's are jerks. They said the worst things to her, even physically bullying her, breaking her things, and generally just the worst things you could do to a person. But I remember not understanding why, and although I didn't understand and did not participate, I didn't stop it. I asked my mom about the situation, and she immediately told me that I had to reach out to her. And so I did, offering her to sit with me during lunch, inviting her to my birthday parties, asking her to hang out. It turned out, Mandy was actually sort of awesome. We ended up being really good friends, and I still see her to this day. I never knew how much it had effected her, until one day in high school she told me that I was the only one who reached out to her in middle school, and if I hadn't her life wouldn't had been the same. This probably has effected me the most out of all the other situations, because I had no idea that it meant so much. Even the smallest of gestures can bloom into real, meaningful relationships.
It was also the Dalai Lama who said "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness". I think an universal quality of all religion is kindness, despite what many people think or do. Although I'm not religious anymore, I was raised in a Baptist Christian household who's primary focus was kindness. I was taught that doing simple things to lighten people's days were the most important part of sharing God's love with the world. This being taught, whether it's for a god or not, is so important. Kindness and empathy is dire to a child's growth. Although I don't spread positivity for the purpose of a creator, It's still just as important to do.
Kindness is out there, no matter what people may have you believe. It's inside all of us, and the number one way of getting it out to the world it through yourself. Always spread positivity and
kindness no matter what. You never know what effect It will have on the world and it's people. This I believe: Kindness.
Word count: 1215


  1. As the first to comment, I a=have to say that you did a great job writing this post, essay, paper, thing. In just reading your paper, i felt a need to be a kinder person and help others out. Kindness in the world is what we really need. There is not enough. Although there are many people out there who just wish to help others and make the world a better place, there are more who are just in it for themselves and that needs to change. That selfishness instead of kindness is what brings out the worst in this world. If everyone could do their part and show kindness at least once every day or even every now and then, i believe that this world could move forward to become a happier, more peaceful place. Kindness truly is the key to nearly everything in life.

  2. I have also always agreed with the Dalai Lama on this aspect. You did a good job with the essay. If you plan to post it on the This I Believe website, you may want to relook at some of your paragraph lengths.

  3. Kurt Vonnegut agreed with you. In "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater" he had a message for those newly arrived on our planet:

    “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”

    He also said: "Love may fail but courtesy will prevail."

    He didn't say "Mean people suck." But he agreed with that too.