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’You got to try a little kindness’


Kindness is the quality of being kind, generous, friendly, considerate.

We once heard about a professor who gave a quiz to his second year class of nursing students. One student reported she breezed through the questions until she read the last one, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” She had seen the woman several times, but how was she supposed to know her name? Surely this was a joke. She handed in her paper with that last question blank. Another student asked if the last question would count toward her grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said, “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention, your kindness, and your care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” The student never forgot that lesson. She also learned that the cleaning lady’s name was “Dorothy.”

Most Americans born before 1960 remember Glen Campbell’s popular 1969 recording, “Try a Little Kindness.” The song became a winner on the Country charts, the Easy Listening charts, and the Billboard Hot 100. Following are the song’s words and chorus:

If you see your brother standing by the road

With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed

And if you see your sister falling by the way

Just stop and say, “You’re going the wrong way.”

Don’t walk around the down and out

Lend a helping hand instead of doubt

And the kindness that you show every day

Will help someone along their way.

You got to try a little kindness

Yes show a little kindness

Just shine your light for everyone to see

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.

During the early 1980s, our pastor shared this enlightening story:

I recently read of a New York businessman who had really come alive in Christ. He was determined to let the love of Christ flow through him as he went about his daily routine. He was running a little behind schedule one day as he hurried to catch his train to Boston. As he neared the train he heard the conductor call, “All aboard!” He started running. Just before he reached the train he felt his suitcase hit something. As he looked down to see what he had hit. He saw a small boy who had been carrying a large box that contained a jigsaw puzzle. He saw the opened box and dozens of puzzle pieces littering the paving bricks that formed the platform’s loading area. The young boy was starting to cry.

Had he kept running, the man could have still boarded the train. However, remembering his determination to let Christ rule his life, he stopped and let the train go on without him. He put down his bags, comforted the boy, and as a genuine act of kindness said, “I’ll pick up the pieces for you.” While the businessman busied himself gathering up the puzzle’s pieces and putting them in the box, the little boy watched him intently. After he finished putting the lid on the box and as he handed the box back to the young boy, the boy looked at him with “a-kind-of-wonder-look” and asked, “Mister, are you Jesus?” And at that moment, standing there on the train platform with the boy, the man realized that, in a sense, his act of kindness had made him look that way to his new young friend.

“Kindness is the Oil That Takes the Friction out of Life.”

Ken and Nan Webster have collected inspiration for many years from many sources, and now inspire readers of “A Matter That Matters.” Contact them at kennanco@gmail.com or visit www.kennancompany.com.

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