Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kindness is Never Obsolete

photo by Bisons Mom / flickr
It's starting in our town. You can feel it in the air. The streets are practically covered in eighteen-twenty-year-old runners. The roads are swamped by bicycles. It's early fall in this college town where I live. Kids are back in school. And football is in the air. The papers are filled with story after story of how the team has done and will do. Though we've already lost one game--the promise of a big  bowl game is still a longing and perhaps a promise. Most Saturdays our sleepy streets will be transformed into one giant parking lot or tail-gating-party. It's wild and it's fun.

But I keep remembering the story of the football game where this carried-away fan kept yelling: "Kill that guy! Knock him down! I've never seen such a dummy. Coach--take him out--he's a loser! He ought to be a water-boy and not sitting on the bench!" On and on the rants continued. Until on the row in back of him a woman tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Mister why don't you just shut up. That's my boy you're talking about."

"That's my boy."In this age of mud-slinging and ugliness toward just about everybody--maybe we need to remember that the person we're hurling the rocks at is somebody's boy (or girl). Not just an enemy. Not just someone playing on the opposite team. Not just some President or Congressman. Not just some policeman or dead young black man in a casket. Not just our coach or theirs. Somebody's son.

It's time for us to lower the temperature everywhere and just remember that all of us on this planet are human beings. We all ache and dream and have enormous disappointments and wish and wish and wish. I keep thinking about all those little children in Texas that sneaked across the border. Somebody's mother, in desperation,  paid dearly in dollars and heartaches to send their little ones to this country in hope that they would be safe.

Martin Luther King told us that we have to learn to live like brothers (and sisters) or we will perish as fools. So next time you get that Checker with a scowl on his or her face--or some poor telemarketer trying to eke out a living doing a terrible job--remember on the other side of the phone or check-out counter is a bonafide human being.

In the great play, The Death of a Salesman the heart-broken wife stands over the newly dug grave of her husband, Willie. He never did all he wanted to do. He missed the brass ring by a mile. People just walked by on the street and never even noticed him. I n the world's eyes he was a failure. And so his widow, dear Linda spoke from her heart when she said, "Willy was a human being. And he shouldn't just be put in the ground like a dog. Attention must be paid." She's right, you know--every single one of us deserves a place at the table and recognition that we are all important.

Somebody's boy.

I love the quote : "Be kind everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Somebody's son.

photo be SweetOnVeg / flickr

--RogerLovette /

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