I recently read several online articles about a Utah woman named Christie Jameson. Despite being an elderly woman who has lost her husband she has adopted 35 children over several years. Apparently all of these children (or most, the articles seemed conflicted) required special attention for medical or educational needs.
When I read about this I felt a few things. The first, because of my personal skepticism was “I hope this is true” and “I hope she is as saintly as the articles suggest.” The second feeling was joy. If a single person could be that kind to some of the weakest in our society then doesn’t it mean the rest of us have that potential?
I went food shopping today. When I got to the check out counter and the young lady said “hello” I asked her if she was “having a good day,” which was my normal and automatic response. We were apparently both preoccupied in our own thoughts and after a minute she suddenly apologized for not answering the question. I smiled and admitted my confusion until she reminded me that I had asked her “having a good day?” It turned out she was having a lousy week. She told me a couple of customers had screamed at her and a few rude people despairingly called her a transsexual (for the record I do not know if she was but I do not care, the point is coming up in the next sentence). In other words she, despite having a lousy week, was nice to me and I despite having a stressful week I was nice to her.
Why can we not just treat each other with basic kindness? Even if you dislike the person for a reason, turn the other cheek and be kind. This will be how evolution starts, by remembering that there is a social contract between us all. Simply be kind.