Monday, January 1, 2018

Can this be the year of kindness?


I've just finished reading Wonder, by R. J. Palacio. I highly recommend both the book and the movie by the same name. The order doesn't matter; both are excellent and proved to be a perfect note on which to start a new year.

A central theme throughout the story is kindness, a trait that has been sorely absent in our world for some time now. As I devoured page after page about August Pullman's family, friends, and feelings, I was pleased to come across a little poem generally attributed to John Wesley among the "precepts" (defined as "rules about really important things") presented by August's fifth grade English teacher:

"Do all the good you can
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."

It struck me that this is the goal toward which all of us should aspire in this fresh, new year. Face it: there is little we can do about Kim Jong Un, or ISIS, or MS-13, or human trafficking, or the hundreds of other issues with which political leaders across the world must struggle every day. But we can do a lot in our own tiny circle of existence if we consciously make a choice to consistently do the good thing, the wise thing, the generous thing, the kind thing.

I am making a pledge to myself to try and heed Rev. Wesley's admonition on a daily basis in 2018. Will I fail? Undoubtedly. But I just might tip the scale toward something positive--and I like the thought of that.