October 31, 2016
For our second iExamen, we were told speak only things that were kind, useful and true. I found the combination of the three words interesting. Each word carefully selected because without one, the whole balance would be thrown off. For example if I said things that were only kind and useful, I wouldn’t speak the truth. Being kind and useful would leave me to say how much I enjoyed something that, in truth, I did not. Being kind and true would cause me to say things that aren’t necessarily pertinent or beneficial to those involved. Finally, saying things that are Useful and true might end poorly seeing as that would probably turn into me constructively criticizing everyone all the time.
I told my mom and dad about the experience and their first reaction was, don’t you always do that? After explaining that it isn’t habit for most people who don’t have a filter to be kind, useful and true all the time, they began to think of my grandmother. My Nana is 73 years old and, as she has been told, still gossips like her sophomore year of high school. She loves to show off her grandchildren like the rest of them but is the first one to comment on how the latest friend is letting her hair go grey. We love her endlessly but she does not practice being kind, useful or true. My next step was to ask her about my project. She agreed that it was” a really cute idea” and a “great way to think about things” but after some more in depth conversation, she said, “Katharine, honey, that’s just not how the word works, if I was kind, useful and true all the time I would be walked over like a welcome mat.” I explained to her that it doesn’t mean that those around you loose respect for you or that you have to do anything you wouldn’t normally. Well, after 73 years I don’t know if she’s going to be changing her ways anytime soon.
During this experience, I found myself questioning my words before I said them. I would take longer pauses than normal and really consider not only what was useful for the feelings of the people I was speaking with but also what was useful for me and for the future. I realized that sharing some details might not be overly beneficial to those around me. My friends hardly seemed to notice a difference, because I am a very filtered and calculated person who thinks about my words and actions before I do them. I might argue that this neither helped nor hindered my everyday experience. Although in order for me to remember, I wrote the words KIND USEFUL and TRUE on the top of my hand, so I ended up explaining my project to a lot of people on Friday. Many of the responses I got were, “I could never do that”. Which kind of bothered me because I was thinking about all the times I had talked to those people and how if they couldn’t even be kind and useful and true for one day, what were they doing for the rest of the days?
In conclusion, I believe that being kind, useful and true are all things that all of us should aim to be. This iExamen really opened my eyes to how humans interact and how we should aim to be the best versions of ourselves that we can.