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Originally posted August 19, 2019
I just came across a lovely story about being kind, shared by a friend. I found myself wondering if it was true, as if that would negate the story, make its message evaporate.
And then I realized: I don’t care if it actually happened or not: it’s a beautiful truth, all on its own. We can’t stop the pains in our lives. We can’t always choose to be happy – sometimes, our brains just won’t do that, no matter how much we wish otherwise.
But we can be kind to someone. Whether we are passing along someone else’s kindness to us or simply trying to make a bright place in a cold, dark world, whatever our motivation for doing it: It. Does. Not. Matter.
I find myself periodically musing about the baby we’ll adopt one day… about them growing up in our home. I imagine reading to them, later reading *with* them, and years later, talking about stories and poems and movies and comics. I imagine talking about homework, working through it together, helping them figure out fractions and history and Big Ideas.
And I realized, as much as I hope they will care about stories and art and ideas, the thing I really want to teach them? To be kind. To share. To care about others. To run toward trouble and look for ways to help.
If I can help them appreciate the world and how it works, I’ll have helped set them up for success… I’ll have helped them to be curious and thoughtful about the world and their place in it.
But if I can help them to be kind and generous, if I can model that behavior and show them how singularly important those moments of kindness are… *then* I’ll feel like I’ve been the parent they deserve.