Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kindness goes a long way...

It would be a perfect world if everyone could be nice to one another but this is not a perfect world.  Not everyone is able to get up on the right side of the bed and start off the day with a positive attitude towards others.  Do too many of us have to work at having a positive attitude towards people?  To just be nice?  For some, it is effortless, while for others it appears to be very difficult. 

A case in point for the effortless would be my grandparents.  My grandpa has passed away but my grandmother is thankfully still with us.  The two of them together could crush you with their extreme thoughtfulness and caring.  A visit with them could make you feel like the most important person in the world because they would give you their undivided attention and in no uncertain terms would show you how happy they were just to visit with you.  They weren’t like that with just family; it was with anyone they came in contact with.  Both of them never failed to wake up on the right side of the bed and show their love for life and for people.
When it comes to examples of those who find it difficult to be nice, I will leave those to your imagination, as I’m sure you have your own first-hand knowledge of how mean some people can be.  The saying, ‘mean people suck’ are three words that say it all.

My reason for commenting on this subject is because I’ve come to realize that, regardless of whether people are nice or mean towards others, there are many people who don’t expect others to be nice to them.
Where I work, I take phone calls from clients who are most likely going through one of the most difficult times in their lives.  They have been arrested, jailed, are heading towards trial and possibly prison.  For some, it is their first offense and the process completely frightens them but for others, they do not seem to learn from past mistakes and continue to get into trouble.  I make no judgments against them.  I have no reason to treat them with anything but a pleasant attitude and I expect them to return the same to me.

So when I began to hear comments from some of the clients, telling me thank you for being so nice, thank you for taking the time, thank you for helping me…it made me realize that many of them did not expect me to treat them decently.  That’s a sad thought.  They based their expectations of my attitude towards them on the fact that their title is now “defendant” and they feel one rung lower on the ladder of decency and respect.  At this point in their life, they cannot see the bright side of anything, only the bleak possibilities before them. 
I may not be able to make them believe there is a bright side to anything at this point in their lives but I can at least make every attempt to show them there are still people who will respond to them positively rather than negatively.  If I were in their shoes, I would hope for exactly the same treatment.

Another reason for this post is due to my husband’s new job where he currently has daily contact with elderly and disabled people.  Each person he has contact with has their own unique story and they are kind and interesting people.  They are only different from others due to their advanced age or disabilities, whether from birth defects or an accident later in life.  Most have thoughts and dreams like any one of us and if they are limited, it is due to no fault of their own. 
My husband’s new job has had many positive effects.  The job has placed my husband, a completely kind person, in the path of so many who only wish to be treated like everyone else.  My husband gives them the respect he would only wish to receive in return.  What my husband receives from them is heartfelt appreciation for his kindness and a job which gives him great satisfaction. 

Being kind goes a long way and can brighten anyone’s day.  We should always offer it, regardless of what side of the bed we wake on, and others should always expect it, regardless of their circumstances.  Whether you get up on the right side of the bed or look at the bright side of things, if you combine those efforts you will hit the day running with a positive attitude towards the day and towards others.  
And if we all gave it a shot, the results would be amazing.

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