If you read this column, you know that I seem to be obsessed with educating our young people today. But I really am trying not to discuss it more than one week in every month!
I am still in touch with many of the girls that I graduated high school with. Although we graduated in 1957, most of us are still alive! And on October 18th, I will be flying down to Myrtle Beach to spend another week with many of my girlfriends. This is the third time since we graduated that we have gotten together, and it is always a surprise to me how wonderful it is. Believe it or not, it’s like we just saw each other a few days ago. Of course, physically, we really have changed. My friends who were cheerleaders are finding old age and various physical ailments are preventing them from leaping in the air and flipping. Unless of course, they’re flipping by mistake.
I was very nervous the first time we got together, but had a wonderful time, and I hosted the second gathering. Now this time, we haven’t gotten together in four years and I don’t know about the rest of them, but without a cane I wouldn’t be able to make it at all. But I assure you, a good time will be had by all.
When we were discussing getting together again, we talked about a lot of things, including bullying. I really wanted to know if anybody else could remember any of us bullying anybody else. I am positive that none of us were ever bullied. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my memory of my high school days and what appears to be reality is the same. We never bullied anybody and none of us were ever bullied. I had never heard of anybody who was bullied. Everybody agreed that none of us had ever heard of that. It would appear that bullying is definitely a new phenomenon.
How do you suppose an old woman with a cane can get to the airport and fly to Myrtle Beach and fly back? I won’t really know the answer to that until I give it a try in October. Even I am surprised at how kind and generous people appear to be when they see me walking with a cane. I have had doors opened, chairs pulled out at restaurants, even grocery bags carried to my car, just by the kindness of others. I am trying very hard to remember the thought of “paying it forward.” For the kindness that’s paid to me, I’m trying to the best of my ability to pay it forward to others. And I really firmly believe that if I pay a kindness forward to others, that they will then again pay it forward to someone else.
I know that if you watch the news at night, you hear of all the horrible things that people do to others. Every imagined cruelty and mean thing you can think of is demonstrated right there in your own living room. But just think about it. How different would the world be if you only heard about the kindnesses? Now don’t think I’m crazy, and I’m not suggesting that the little kindnesses that you and I can do, will change the world. However, I do think that if I’m kind, and you’re kind, and we pay our kindnesses forward, then many more people will have kindnesses done to them, and they in turn will pay it forward to someone else. And although we won’t change the world and we won’t see it on TV, it will make a difference.
If your child is a bully, you better figure out how to stop that behavior immediately. And if your child is being bullied, you need to step in and find out what’s going on and how you can stop that behavior right away. Tomorrow is too late, today is the day to take action. I never had a bully in my family, and I don’t have a bully with any of my grandchildren. Nor, do any of them appear to be bullied. But let me say right now, I wouldn’t tolerate a bully, and I wouldn’t tolerate any of my grandchildren being bullied. Period. End of story.
I don’t remember lots of kindnesses when I was younger, but now that I’m old and carrying a cane, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the kindnesses I am receiving. Maybe I did receive kindness when I was younger, but I was too busy to notice. Now that I’m older and have more time, I recognize kindness every time it comes my way. So I’m asking you to look into your heart, and every time a kindness passes your way, be sure you recognize it, and take the time to be kind to others whenever the opportunity arises. And of course, if you have a bully in your family, put a stop to that before you finish reading this column. And if one of your loved ones is suffering because they are being bullied, it is your duty to do something about it.
Life is short, much shorter than you think it is. There is no time for cruelty. There is no time for unkindness. And there is no time for suffering. Make sure that everyone within the sound of your voice and the reach of your hands is happy, healthy, and hopefully wise.