“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up,”Rev. Jesse Jackson
The concept of kindness can at once seem both painfully obvious and cliché. Most of us learn the “Golden Rule” at the same time we learn our ABCs. A question we can ask ourselves, however, is how often we take the notion of being kind and turn it into action, becoming an example.
In the spring of 2020, I lost someone very dear to me. One of those losses that changes who you are. I often find myself reflecting on 25 years of life lessons I learned from my friend, Jeff, and who he was to me. One of my biggest takeaways is his authentic kindness.
Rev. Jesse Jackson once said, “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up,” a sentiment my friend embodied.
During our decades of friendship, I saw Jeff interact with literally hundreds of people. He had that “thing” that just drew people to him. That “thing” was kindness. Whether it be a student, a president of a college, a waiter, a janitor at the school where he was working – he treated everyone on the same level. If you were a human in his orbit, he looked you in the eye, shook your hand, smiled, and listened. Jeff saw everyone. What a beautiful extension of kindness.
In a climate where the world seems to be continually testing us with bad news, kindness is not only welcome, but needed. We may have varied opinions on what constitutes as an act of kindness, but perhaps we can shift those ideas to incorporate living authentically kind by truly seeing those around us every day.