Charlotte A. Stout

Here are my recent thoughts/comments on a variety of topics.

December 15th: Kindness in Thought and Action

I know a person who speaks a lot about kindness. She believes it is important to be kind toward others even when you don’t feel it in your soul. However, I have watched this person in action and I believe she embodies what is wrong with the world right now.

Insincere kindness is the worst. I remember when I was growing up my grandparents, on both sides, stressed the importance of being kind to people whether we knew them, liked them or were related to them. But, the kindness was to always be genuine. If we complimented someone we had to mean it. And darn if grannie and gramps could tell when we were insincere. That insincerity was met with swift punishment like a look, a nudge or a swift kick (figuratively).

Looking back on this upbringing I can say I am so thankful I was raised to be genuine in my dealings with people. I learned that if I could not be genuinely complimentary about something related to the person with whom I was engaged I always had the fallback of saying, “it is a real pleasure to meet you,” and mean it. Normally you don’t feel displeasure the first time you meet someone, although there are exceptions to this of course. So, saying it is a pleasure to meet someone is true and genuine at the time.

My grandparents said we aren’t fooling anyone with our disingenuous compliments. People know if we are sincere or not. The person I reference above believes that when she compliments someone on their dress, hair, makeup, house, car, bank account or whatever else she might deem worthy of praise and she does so with sarcasm, a “but” or a false smile that it is still a compliment and she has been kind to that person.

Whoa Nellie – that is such a messed-up definition of kindness. An Insincere compliment is the antithesis of kind. Kindness in thought and action is sorely missing in the discourse taking place in this nation. Look at the comments coming from the President, members of his Cabinet, his Press Secretary and members of Congress. The comments are mean spirited, often untrue and create a divisive environment. It is not that hard to be kind if we truly look at a person with the intent to be kind in thought and action. Imagine the strides we could make if everyone worked a little harder at dispensing kindness.

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