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Practice Kindness

Posted on November 10, 2021
Be Kind
The holidays are fast approaching, and I know many of us will share things we are grateful for as we sit around a table filled with turkey and all the trimmings. However, I am going to ask that before you do that, before you think about what you are grateful for, and before you share it, that you practice kindness.

You don’t have to look far to see rude, aggressive, and mean-spirited behavior. It is all around us. It is in the news with the flight attendants calling for Federal government assistance to tamp down the more than five thousand reports of unruly behavior on flights. If you drive anywhere, you are likely to witness drivers blowing through red lights and jamming on their horns when the person in front of them doesn’t jump the yellow light. Try shopping in an actual store. Customers are continually making nasty comments or yelling at the cashier when the company is short-staffed. 

In other words, bad behavior is abundant.

We have all heard about the great resignation, the supply shortages, and now there is a newly coined term, “Skimpflation” where businesses are having to make decisions to “skimp” on things such as customer service or extras they used to offer such as the made to order omelets at your favorite hotel chain. Regardless of the reason behind longer lines at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or restaurant, please stop and think before you utter a cadre of unkindness on those working to put food on their Thanksgiving tables. The cashier, waiter, or clerk have no control over a container stuck in the Port of San Francisco holding the latest, greatest toy your child must have neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree. Nor do they have anything to do with staffing shortages. And neither do their managers. 

When there are legitimate complaints, please ask to speak to the manager and calmly explain your concerns or frustrations. Calling the manager a little ________ does nothing but belittle the manager. 

The past 18 months have left many of us feeling a bit prickly and it’s no wonder. We have been at war against a determined, variable, and sustained enemy – COVID-19. And many of us feel the effects of PTSD, similar to soldiers on the battlefield. We all lost something we took for granted – our ability to come and go, gather, laugh, support, share, and just be with one another. This is grief and New York Time bestselling author Brene Brown at the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference pointed out that grief often gets turned into anger and aggression toward others. She also argues we need to make space for grief.

While I think we have turned the corner, there is still a long road ahead of us. And while we work on our collective grief, we must be kind to one another as we continue on this journey.

So, on your next outing, practice kindness with each other and with strangers who are only trying to get through their day, just like you, so they too can share what they are grateful for at their table trimmed with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Dean, Graduate College
Assistant Clinical Professor & Department Head, Goodwin College
Drexel University