As everyone who lives in the U.S. plus many folks abroad also know, this country is going through a trying time. Some believe we are in great shape, the economy is good (for some–not all), and according to the President we are rearranging our relationships with our friends and our enemies to our benefit. According to many other Americans we are destroying our relationships with our allies and creating strange and sometimes irrational relationships with our enemies. We are also going through what many call our tribal era as we divide up into various social and political camps.
We have gone through trying times in the past with the Civil War ranking at the top. At my age of 75, I would rank the 1960s as also a very trying time for the country. Two Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. The country seemed to not just battle itself over Viet Nam, but also Civil Rights, the end of segregation, new concerns about the environment, and a military draft which caught many–including me–somewhat unaware. The end result was saying “hello Army”.
As I look back and compare those earlier clashes in society, I get the feeling that if we could survive those times we can get through these as well.
In my view as long as we keep three words in front of us as we move forward we will be just fine. Those three I will capitalize so as not to forget them. They are: KINDNESS, EMPATHY and HONESTY.
These are not “goodie two shoes” thoughts. They will not keep us out of war if it is truly needed. It doesn’t mean that some of our citizens will not spend time in jail, if warranted.
At the end of the day, one can still practice and live by each word and still get run over by a truck, get cancer or be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as I have been.
If, however, you take each word to heart, and do the best you can to live by them, you will like yourself better and so will others.
In closing I will give you my definition of each.
KINDNESS – its best synonyms are selflessness, compassion, hospitality and affection.
EMPATHY – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
HONESTY – its best synonyms are integrity, honor and truthfulness. To be honest is not to be mean spirited. One can be honest and still be careful on how one approaches another in thought and word.
All our leaders and a majority of our citizenry need to do is live up to those three words and we will be just fine.
by Dick Goodson