Sadly more children have died at the hands of a school shooter this week and we seem helpless to intervene/prevent these much too-frequent occurrences. We’ve boycotted the National Rifle Association, we’ve legislated, we’ve marched against school shootings, we’ve lobbied and advocated, played the blame game, we’ve even prayed and had vigils, and yet our children keep dying.
Please hear me out before you discount what I’m advocating for: deliberate kindness. Cousin to the ever popular random acts of kindness, deliberate kindness would be stuff we do on purpose every day, sometimes to the same people, but for sure to all the people we meet, and especially to the folks who desperately need to know they matter. The common denominator in many of these shootings is the student who has been bullied, ridiculed, ostracized, excluded—all things that might be fixed with love, care and what the late Otis Redding called “…a little tenderness.”
When people know we care, when we’re interested in what they’re interested in, when we reach out with genuine interest and concern, we all flourish, we soar and we grow strong. Yes, that probably means paying closer attention, eating with the unpopular children at lunch or intervening when someone is being picked on because they’re the wrong color, the wrong size, comes from the wrong street—pick a reason and some small-minded person has made fun of it. When you’re not the object of the ridicule, it’s easy to laugh at the expense of others but the consequences are too deadly today for us to sit and wring our hands.
Beginning today, let’s get to know at least one neighbor. Go over when you see them and learn their names. You probably have more in common than you think.
At church, start a new Sunday school class so that everyone can be included. When there are new people, invite them to sit with you. Wear a name tag for heaven’s sake.
At home, yes, there’s a place for privacy, but pay attention to your children and if something’s going to go undone, let it be some of the million activities you’ve signed them up for. During meals carry on conversation with your children or spouse instead of playing games on your phone—better yet, ban phone use for everyone during meals and hear what’s going on.
Today, advocate for mental health treatment for those who need it, and everywhere you go be deliberately kinder, intentionally more friendly, purposefully more helpful, and a lot nicer than you have to be. Are these perfect solutions? Heck no, but if we make the world just a little more inclusive, attentive, and kinder, we all win. Amen.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.