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  • Writer's pictureAdam Roszco

Kindness Matters

by Adam Roszco. Photo courtesy of Nathan Lemon on unsplash.com


I remember, years ago, hearing relatives come through the door agitated from a day at work. Often they would say something to the effect of "what is wrong with people? what happened to common courtesy? To kindness?" I'd hear what they had to say or experienced and roll my eyes. I was a teenager after all and that was a common response to something I didn't fully understand.


Today, one week away from turning forty, I often find myself pausing and asking the same question they asked me all those years ago. Am I becoming a grumpy old man like them? Yes, I am. But I also wonder why kindness is so hard for some? It literally costs nothing. We all know and acknowledge that there is much suffering in the world.


And yet, we can't seem to pull ourselves out of ourselves and be kind to one another. Where I work my full-time job (yes, I am a starving artist who has not yet landed a million-dollar book deal so I can be a reclusive writer in a cabin full-time and must punch a timecard to keep food on the table like everyone else) it is a standard to deliver a high level of customer service. Frankly, everywhere I have worked I have always strived to deliver an exceptional level of customer service. It's become one of my many strengths. However, there are times when bad news has to be delivered or a bad experience happens. How do these people respond? Finger-pointing. Cursing. Yelling. Screeching. Blaming me for ruining their life.


Anyone who has worked in customer service can understand what I am speaking to. It's not right. It's not fair. But it comes with the job and I have put up with it all these years. But I always fall back on, why can't you breath and be kind? Where did society start to make it acceptable to be a rude jack-ass every time something didn't go your way? It would be easy for me to say something like "social media is to blame" (it is a part of the problem yes, but that's a cop-out and a cynical narrow view). I believe the problem is we have closed off our hearts and are angry that life that has become what it has.


It's not enjoyable. Most people are working to survive. We have one shot at life and how disappointing is it, to be tied to a 9-5 job just to keep the lights on. Or to feed ourselves. Or to keep a roof over our head. Or to pay for therapy. Or to pay a medical bill. In the face of all this disappointment, we sit in our frustration and boil until one day the top comes off and we lose it. We all experience these hardships and day to day challenges. Could you imagine how much easier it would be to work through all of that if we just stopped for a minute and said hello to each other? Asked, with genuine compassion, how we are doing?


I know it sure helps me. Yesterday (March 30, 2024), a traumatic event happened. It upset me greatly. My co-workers checked in on me throughout the day asking how I was doing? Was I holding up? They even texted me in the morning to see how I was doing. They opened their hearts to send a brief message of care and those thoughts, the gestures, the care helped me to shoulder the many emotions I was feeling as I processed this traumatic event. There was no grand, expensive gesture - and the circumstance didn't call for it. Just a little checking in. How lovely was that to see all around me?


We are not each other's enemies. We are full hearts rich with life, joy and laughter. We've all experienced the emotions. We've all been through darkness. Why block the light and only focus on the negative? We as people have so much heart to offer.


My ask is this: take a breath. Close your eyes. Pledge to show a little more kindness today. Maybe it's only to one person by holding a door open. Maybe it's by thanking your barista by looking them in the eye. Maybe it's by listening to someone vent so they can move forward. All are generous acts, even though small ones. Those little kindnesses tend to go a long way.

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