Kindness is a Choice
“Son, patience is a virtue and kindness is a choice,” my Grandfather used to always say. It didn’t matter what I asked him it seemed like that ten-word phrase would always find its way in to his response. I am not sure why he chose to add “kindness is a choice” the familiar idiom “patience is a virtue,” but he sure did love telling people. I remember on Thanksgiving, a few years before he passed away, I asked him why he always said that “kindness is a choice.” He responded to me quickly without missing a beat, saying “because my boy, anytime that you act kindly toward someone else, you did it, because you made the conscious choice to be kind to them. I ain’t never heard of anybody bein’ nice on accident.” I did not realize it at the time, and in fact, it was not until this iExamen that I learned that all along my Grandfather was right.
This past Saturday, when I attempted to make every word I said either kind, useful or true, I was not on the campus at Loyola, or spending time with family, but rather I was traveling with my teammates. The added dynamic of completing this assignment while around my team, was that usually we love to give each other a hard time. We do not give one another a hard time out of malice but we give each other a hard time jokingly and just to mess around. However when I tried to make everything I said kind, useful or true, it was nearly impossible. I slipped up numerous times by choosing to make fun of or make a joke about someone on the team, but as the day progressed I began to slip up less frequently and compliment my teammates more and more often. It was not easy because over time I had created a habit of making sarcastic, meaningless jokes rather than using my comments constructively and purposefully.
This iExamen taught me the truth of the words which my grandfather, so often, spoke but which I, so often, overlooked. Being honest and kind is not natural or easy, but it is difficult and requires thought and discipline. Kindness truly is a choice and one that sadly, humans seldom seem to make.