The words “Be Kind”, “Don’t Fight” and “Love Big” were words that appeared on a series of t-shirts my now 11-year old son lived in when he was 5. It struck me then as it does now that these simple statements are so powerful. If we went out into the world everyday with this in mind, the world would be a very different place. It was my sons t-shirt that inspired us to create our “Be Kind” pant and remind ourselves of this simple gesture.
Being kind with our spouse, kids, parents, colleagues and friends would be transformative. And yet so often, in the hectic world we live in we are quite the opposite. We feel the need to be guarded, selfish and suspicious. In fact attempts at “random acts of kindness” are often received very poorly. I paid for the coffee of the person waiting behind me at our local café a few weeks back and the result was surreal. The barista didn’t “get it” at all and the recipient who unfortunately discovered my act flat out refused. It was a very odd experience. We have become so hardened.
17 years ago when I first met Kim, she bought me a book: “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. It was probably the very first thing she ever bought me and in it were themes similar to “Be Kind”. It reminded me that life is a lot less complicated than we often make it. The list goes like this:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. Clean up your mess
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – “LOOK.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Adopting the above and adding “be kind” for a day or a week (except maybe too much of #10) makes for a fun exercise with surprising results. As I reflect on where Kim & I are at running gDiapers, as parents to two boys, and our own relationship a focus on #11 “Live a balanced life” is probably the most challenging. Which one seems the most impossible for you? I’d love to know!
We want to hear your thoughts. And stay tuned in the week to come as some more of our favorite bloggers weigh in.