Kindness and courtesy
I dream of a world where kindness and courtesy are a priority for everyone, without exception.
When I taught communication at Lycoming College, it was important my students understood the goals for scholarly researchers of this field focused on "learning how to improve the human condition." Key factors included kindness, courtesy and inclusivity.
Years before, my mother had taught my brothers and I to choose both the "right" and "kind" thing to do. She instilled in us that all people had value, along with their unique life stories. Such important lessons to have learned.
How simple it is to be nice to one another.
Decades ago, the corner of my grandmother's house was marked with chalk by homeless people; signifying hers was a welcoming home to find food and kindness. To her, it was the right thing to do. My grandmother was not a rich person, yet her kindness gave her life a different type of richness.
Although today's society offers a different sense of community, the difference of "one" (this means you) is significant in importance.
I believe that too many people feel they can wield power, and remain more powerful, by working daily on being "feared." How sad for them, and what short sightedness ... as they are not truly respected (although they believe they are).
We need to remember that respect is earned with each and every interactive effort throughout the entirety of our lives - not just one memorable gesture in time.
I also am quite aware of safety factors in today's world, and how others may have negative intentions to take advantage of others - at many levels. Listen to your heart and know when to walk away. God will whisper and help guide you with your intuition.
I know it can be difficult when you feel conflicted with someone. Yet the choice is yours as to how you engage or disengage.
While the reality remains that a wide variety of people will exist in our lives, I wholeheartedly believe there are good people in this world. Each one can teach us something.
So what do you offer to others throughout the day, and quietly through prayer?
How would people honestly describe you and your interactions? I hope that the word "compassionate" would be a part of the description.
Kindness includes forgiving yourself - as well as others - for any transgressions. Forgiveness also makes a significant difference in how you value yourself.
Two of the most important things about kindness, courtesy and inclusivity are: 1) they be shared without any expectations for a return gesture, and 2) they should only be offered with good intentions.
Know that a simple warm greeting with your words, smile or gesture can be received as a gift to an unknown person passing by.
There are many people we could - and should - thank throughout our lives for their kindnesses and teachings. Do we take the time?
An inspiring soul in our community, who always had a twinkle in her eye, recently went to heaven. She touched others with a lifetime of poetic writings. She was filled with love and laughter, and offered it so freely to others. How rich she made our lives. God bless and thank you, Patsy Troisi.
I dedicate today's column in loving memory of my grandmother, Mary Seybold - and with special honor to my mother, Betty Langley. I thank them for the countless times they put others before themselves, without hesitation.
May kindness and courtesy be offered to you as daily blessings. May you recognize your gifts and how important they are to share. May you act as a true child of God and always look to improve the human condition.
May you inspire others to "pay it forward" by using forward thinking. May you choose every waking opportunity to continually make a difference in the lives of others. May you be a catalyst for peace.
Langley is the author of the newly released book, "Life Changes..." Her column is published the first Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.