When I was a kid, it wasn’t exactly newsworthy to pick up a piece of trash lying around. No one alerted the authorities if someone helped a lady carry her groceries to her car or stopped to help a stranded driver change a tire. But today, it seems common courtesy is newsworthy.
Most evenings, I watch the national news on a major network. For some time now, I’ve noticed that they save a few minutes at the end of every show to show us a “feel good” story that almost always includes some act of kindness. Some of these segments do show some amazing feats, such as groups raising tens of thousands of dollars for someone in need, but I seem to remember having rallies as a kid to raise money for various charitable causes on a regular basis, yet they never became national news stories.
Recently, I saw a story about a family who adopted a troubled dog from a shelter. It was a lovely story, but I kept wondering why this would make the national news. I’ve had shelter dogs my whole life. I have two of them sitting next to me right now, but when I adopted them, no one called the local press. I’m not sure why.
There are all kinds of stories about anti-bullying campaigns and zero-tolerance programs. I’m all for anti-bullying campaigns, but when I was bullied as a kid, no one ever started a campaign over it. It was just part of growing up. I agree that it shouldn’t be — but we all have to learn to deal with the adversities of real life at some point.
Perhaps it’s just that the bullying has gotten worse with guns and social media. What happened to kindness and working things out? No, really — where did it go?
There are actually people writing blogs committing to doing at least one “random act of kindness” a day for 365 days and congratulating themselves by telling us all about it.
I’ve even discovered that there’s a National Random Act of Kindness Day every year. It’s Feb. 17.
This is all certainly very lovely. I’m just wondering when being kind became so unusual that we developed a need to pay this much attention to it.
I’ve got to tell you, for selfish reasons, I’m kind to others pretty much all of the time. Inside, I may be tense and angry at the voicemail hell I’m in when trying to reach a customer-service representative. I may be holding my breath when I have to call about the same complaint for the third and fourth time, but I have to say that I remain outwardly calm and kind to the person on the other end of my frustration and anger.
Maybe it’s because I was raised as a nice little Southern girl. Maybe it’s because I’m a natural people pleaser. To be honest, I really do believe that you can catch more flies with honey. When I’m kind, two things almost always happen:
- I almost always get my way.
- I feel better about myself and the kindness I shared with someone else.
Perhaps you would call these random acts of kindness, but I call them good old selfishness — because I like to get my way, and I like feeling good.
So, please, alert the media. They need to do an exposé on me, because my kindness is not random. It’s frequent. You see, I still like to do unto others as I want them to do unto me. It’s selfish, I tell ya. It’s just plain selfish!