Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kindness In Action

In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime
 will matter as much as the way
 we have loved one another. 
–Daphne Rose Kingma

I read an essay this week, "Courtesy is kindness in action," by Michael Josephson on his Character Counts website. (Click on the link for the whole essay.) It says, in part:
As a society we have become almost obsessed with identifying and asserting our rights – to think, say, and do what we want. That’s not surprising, given the history of our country and the prominent role the Constitution and Bill of Rights have played in shaping our culture. We have a right to be unkind, thoughtless, and disrespectful – but it isn’t right. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out, “Life is short but there is always time for courtesy.”
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we would remember Emerson's simple thought?

“Life is short but there is always time for courtesy.”

When we were in grade school, we had to give a Valentine to every member of the class. Even if "that boy" teased me unmercifully about my weight or my hair or my green tights, I was supposed to put a Valentine in his box. (I must admit that I would find the least sappy Valentine from the box I'd carefully selected from the dimestore at Pratt. I would adhere to the rules, but I didn't have to give him the best Valentine.)
My first grade class at Byers Grade School - all 5 of us. Some years, there were 3! I'm second from the left.
The same philosophy prevailed in Jill's and Brent's elementary days, too: Everyone in the class got a card dropped into their Valentine mailbox, carefully constructed from a shoebox, construction paper and doily hearts. 
What would happen if we treated each other with a little unconditional friendship - not only on Valentine's Day, but every day?
Maybe Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten should be required reading for adults. In it, he suggests:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Be aware of wonder.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Isn't it worth a try?

If you want to try the whole warm cookie theory on this Valentine's Day, try these White Chocolate Blondies. A bar cookie is great for a last-minute gift to say, "Thinking of you," "Be my valentine" or "Lots of love."

For other tried-and-true cookie recipes, go to the search bar on the blog, located just above the Cutest Blog on the Block logo and type in "cookies," "bar cookies," "snack mixes," "cakes," etc.

Open your hearts to the love God instills . . . 
God loves you tenderly. 
What He gives you is not to be kept under lock and key,
 but to be shared.
 –Mother Teresa


  1. Happy Valentine's Day, Kim!

    Grade school Valentine's Day celebrations are fond memories. Mom was always creative in helping us come up with fun boxes for the school party.

    "We have a right to be unkind, thoughtless, and disrespectful – but it isn’t right." Good food for thought and kind of sad that some choose to be unkind, thoughtless, and disrespectful.

    1. My sister-in-law is a third grade teacher. She has the same rule about giving to all or nobody. This year, 20 kids chose to bring something for all and 2 chose to bring nothing. I was a little sad for the 2. Did their Moms not want to help?

  2. Great thoughts..Pippi missed her Kindergarten Valentine Party today with illness and I have 16 valentine's ready to deliver next week...I love listening to my friends who had less than ten kids in their learned to accept and work with those people who you had little fondness for...and in the process grew fond of them for just being. community in the most basic sense.

    1. Hi Amber - Thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry your daughter missed the party. Those are always special days. My granddaughter had her first Valentine's party yesterday at 13 months old! When I was in 5th grade, my small school at Byers consolidated into Skyline Schools outside Pratt. So I also experienced school life in a bigger school (not that Skyline is huge or anything).