When Kindness Matters

Karith Foster

We know by now that kindness matters.

We've heard it a million times in lectures and sermons and thanks to social media it is the subject of countless memes. What we may need a refresher on is when kindness matters.

It takes little effort to be kind when someone does something nice for you; when they hold the door open when your arms are full or they wave you ahead after you’ve both come to a stop sign at the same time.

Want to know when it's not easy to be kind?

When you're jamming out to Duran Duran on the car radio and your 10 year-old says, "Ugh seriously, is this another one of your songs from the 1900's?" Excuse me? The 1900's?! Did you just infer I'm Little-House-on-the-Prairie-old?!

It's not easy to be kind when you call customer service because you're being charged an obscene amount for something you never ordered and they keep transferring you; your total wait time averages about 38 minutes and the person you FINALLY get to on the other line clearly doesn't speak English as their native tongue and you know in your heart of hearts their first name is not really Kevin.

It's also hard to be kind when you are over 35 years old, pregnant, and the doctors and nurses keep referring to you as being of  "Advanced Maternal Age," or even better, they go out of their way to make sure you're aware that you're having  a "geriatric pregnancy''. My bad, I thought that would be Sarah from the Bible who rocked a baby bump at 90.

All of these are cases for taking a deep breath (or 10) and understanding that a response rooted in kindness is not likely going to be your gut reaction.
Collecting ourselves and going inward to harness the power of practicing kindness also rings true when we are not seeing eye to eye, especially around issues that we take seriously and personally like conversations around racism, sexism, ageism, or any other kind of -ism. When different people have different perspectives and aren't even close to being on the same wavelength- THIS is when kindness counts.

When kindness matters the most is when your patience is being tested, your feelings are hurt, or when you're just plain frustrated that someone isn't "getting it."

You may not get a medal, or for that matter any recognition, for going above and beyond to bring kindness into play, but it will be felt, hopefully appreciated, and returned in kind. Because kindness, when used, especially during the most challenging times, is contagious.

We’d love to hear about the moments you’ve had when kindness mattered. Please share on Instagram or Twitter and be sure to tag @InversityS and @KarithFoster accounts, and include these hashtags #whenkindnessmatters #Inversity. What you share can be silly or serious.

If you’re fraught for ideas here are some other times when kindness matters:

When your kid needs to use the bathroom at the bank.

When you've been locked out of your hotel room and all of your ID is inside.

When you've lost your phone in a busy store.

When you just want your name spelled correctly.