Consider the preciousness of others
I learned those important words in a parenting class I took at my church over twenty years ago. It was a fun class — Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. There were several couples in the class and we met for several weeks, two years in a row.
I don’t remember everything I learned in the class, after all, it was a long time ago. My children who were in elementary school at the time are now nearing thirty. One thing still resonates, probably because it is a message for all of us, not just parents:
Consider the preciousness of others
Two examples of this stick with me. First, when a child wants to pick a flower in a public garden you remind him or her that if they pick the flower, it will deprive someone else of the pleasure of seeing and smelling something lovely. Consider the preciousness of other people trying to enjoy the garden. The other example was more for the adults; returning the shopping cart at the grocery store. I have to admit, I still feel convicted to do this. Consider the preciousness of other shoppers, the ones who get excited about the parking place close to the front only to have their joy dampened by the cart in the middle of the space. Or worse, the customer who returns to their car to find it was struck by a runaway shopping cart. I will say, I am thankful for the invention of shopping cart corrals so I don’t have to walk all the way back in the store.
Basically, in all of your actions, the things you say and do, consider the preciousness of others. After all, they are just as loved by God as you.
If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Philippians 2:1-4 (WEB)
Trick or Treat
We celebrated Halloween a few weeks ago. It’s not my favorite holiday but it presents an opportunity to show kindness to others.
We live in a nice, safe neighborhood. There are only a handful of children in the neighborhood yet we usually have close to one hundred children come by the house in their annual quest for candy. Our neighborhood is separated from other neighborhoods by a major road so you don’t just happen upon our neighborhood, you intentionally arrive.
For many years, children have come to our neighborhood in truckloads to trick or treat. Literally truckloads. It is humbling to me that so many parents consider our neighborhood a safe one. I want to honor that.
Most of the families that rang the doorbell were not like me. They were Hispanic, African-American or mixed-race. They were probably of a different socioeconomic status. It is likely that they voted differently than me in the latest election.
But, you know what? I saw kindness when I opened my door. I can’t tell you how many moms and dads prompted their little ones with that age-old question, “What do you say?” So many sweet thank-you’s, even from the tiniest ones who were just learning to talk. The teens holding their pillow-cases out even remembered to say thanks.
One little boy toward the end of the evening tugged at my heart. We were down to the bowl of lollipops. He asked if he could have one, I said “sure!” He wanted to know if I had any brown ones. I remembered that I had pulled some aside. As I walked to the kitchen, he called out “ma’am your house is really pretty”. Seriously, what eight year-old boy comments on a pretty house? I handed him two brown lollipops and as he walked back to his parents, he said “here Dad, I got you the brown lollipops that you like”. Melt. My. Heart.
Anyone Can Show Kindness
What is the point of all this? Anyone, can practice kindness. We all, everyone of us can consider the preciousness of others. The color of your skin, your religion, your education level, how much money you have; none of these things matter when it comes to kindness. We can all be kind, we should all be kind. If you’re a believer, it’s a commandment.
I’ve thought about this a lot lately, especially in the current climate of our society. Something has to change. How will we survive as a nation if we continue on this path of division, hatred and mean-spiritedness? I am compelled to look at people differently, to consider their preciousness. Perhaps if we all made an effort to do this, we could make the world a better place.
What is one thing you will do to show kindness, to consider the preciousness of others this week?