“The Deeds You Do May Be the Only Sermon Some Persons Hear Today”

Dear Reader:

After running some errands yesterday I got back home…plopped all the bags down and then plopped myself down too. I turned on the television and listened as a young author was being interviewed about his bestseller book titled: Deep Kindness.

Kraft, the author, was asking his interviewers if they considered kindness an important attribute in people…both interviewers nodded…he then asked if they thought kindness was free...once again the two interviewers nodded.

Kraft persisted…”Free in the sense that you can decide when to give kindness to someone or free to dig a little deeper and give kindness when it is not convenient for you?”

Most people consider the word Kindness as one of those nice abstract picture words that doesn’t need a definition…it is more of a feeling type word.

“Practicing kindness is an essential step in helping to repair a world that has grown to be more divisive, lonely, and anxious than ever. But with quotes like, “Just be kind” or, “Throw kindness around like confetti,” we’ve oversimplified what it takes to actually demonstrate kindness in a world crying out for it. “

At one seminar where Kraft was speaking ….a woman came up to him afterwards and told him her story about kindness…or lack of its depth when it wasn’t convenient to be kind. She was on a plane heading home to earlier sudden news that her father was dying and wanted to see her…by the time her plane landed…she could feel herself slowly falling apart.

She had a two hour lay-over before the next plane…while sitting there she got the call she had dreaded…her father had just passed. She began sobbing uncontrollably sitting on a bench in a crowded airport watching thousands of people walk by her.

Most looked uncomfortable when they saw or heard her weeping…some purposefully looked away….but out of those thousands rushing past her to get to their next plane or location…no one stopped to ask about her or comfort her or even hand her a tissue.

This took Houston Kraft back to his purpose in writing the book…we all like to think we are kind people…when it is convenient to be so…but what about those times when being kind means sacrificing your missing a plane or connection…what is the true depth of our kindness?

It starts with modeling kindness for our children. Just small changes can bring about different perspectives on kindness in our own family rituals. For example:

Instead of asking the family at supper…”How was everyone’s day?” ….what if the daily question was ” What did you do to be kind and help someone else today?”

Kraft shared the story of the woman at the airport with a later audience and ended with the St. Francis of Assisi title quote:

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons hear today.”

Think about it…if just one person had slowed down long enough to ask the woman if she needed help or would like someone to talk to…or even give her tissue….her story could have been about the true goodness in people.

How the person who stopped to listen to her plight…had also asked about her father, gotten her to share a funny story about him…what a difference the word kindness would have meant to her from that point on. Then, hopefully, she would have paid it forward to someone else who needed a kind soul to listen.

Don’t we always hope our children understand the importance of being kind…but unless we are explicit in our own expectations of kindness as a priority it probably falls short.

Kraft gave this example:

A group of parents were asked if given the following three choices…which would be the top priority they would want their children to take with them into the world.

Being successful, being kind, being happy.

Most parents answered with being kind and happy….but later when their older children were asked which of these priorities they thought their parents chose for them…all answered “being successful.”

In other words…there is a lack of communication in prioritizing the important qualities in life between parents and their children. What we model, ourselves, is what they will model one day…not our words..but our actions.

To show the greatest depth in kindness…is to be mis-treated but then turn around and be kind to someone else the way you wished you had been.

So until tomorrow….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Whenever I go to plant something new in my garden…I must remember it is an act of kindness…sharing beauty with the world.

 

 

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to “The Deeds You Do May Be the Only Sermon Some Persons Hear Today”

  1. Janet Bender says:

    Beautiful & vitally important message today for all of us. “Kindness”— selfless acts of love
    Thank you Becky!

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      How important it is today to be kind to others even in this divided political nation we live in…when voting I look for the man who continues to offer kindness in spite of how he has been treated….dignity…a word we need to see and emulate.

      Like

  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    This hit home today because yrs ago after I got married I wrote a poem for my Mother and then I had Mrs. Cauthen make it into a cross stitch graft that I used to cross stitch it and then paid to have it framed professionally. I gave it to Mother as a gift and she had it until she passed on her wall wherever her home was at the time. One of the lines said…”My Mother always taught me to see the needs of others and to care, really care”…now it hangs on my wall and one day it will go to Emmie. There was never a family gathering that we did not have an extra plate or two …even the two facilities she stayed in she always found the one or two who had no a family and brought them home with her…one year Joe came and even spent the night at Christmas with us…some of the family had no clue who he was until they arrived for Christmas dinner that day…loved her for always caring …especially for those who were often overlooked.

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      What a special, adorable mom you were blessed with Gin-g….and believe me…the acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak…you are one of the most giving people I know. She was the role model for all of you and what an amazing mentor she was!

      Like

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