Kindness: Give Me Flowers… While I’m Alive
Have you ever noticed what happens at a funeral? Someone dies and everyone sends beautiful flowers and expressive cards. They show up at the funeral and say nice things about the departed. (To whom are they speaking?)
Food for thought: If the departed could hear you, what do you think would be said about you? Maybe, “Wow … it would have been nice if you would have said that to me when I was alive.” or perhaps, “Look at all of these flowers! I didn’t know that all of you really cared.”
Think about the people with whom you interact with now. How often do you say thank you? How often do you stop what you are doing and say to someone “I love you”? How often do you practice “random acts of kindness” toward family and friends (and strangers)?
In the corporate world, when someone retires, they throw a party and people come up and say, “It was great working with you. You always did such a fantastic job.” Question: Did those same people ever say that to that person, while he or she was working at their job? Probably not.
What difference does it make that you think someone did a good job, when they are walking out the office door never to return again? What difference does it make when someone is dead that you thought he or she was a valued friend, if you never told them so when they were alive?
What about people you don’t know? What about hotel maids, front desk help, service reps? I have seen people order waiters around like they were indentured servants. When the waiter delivered what was asked, the recipient just ignored them.
Here’s another example: I was just at the airport and an airline employee went out of her way to help a passenger find the right gate. I mean the employee stopped what she was doing, walked this woman out to the monitors, showed her where her flight was located on the monitor, and then walked her in the right direction. The passenger didn’t even say thank you. She just kept walking. The airline employee stood there, shrugged her shoulders, and went back to doing what she was doing, prior to the passenger’s questions. Would it have killed that passenger to say “thank you”?
What we’re talking about is kindness. It’s about doing the “right thing.” As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” Why wait until your fellow employee is walking out the door for the last time to tell that person you enjoyed working with him? Why wait to tell an employee that she is doing a great job? Why wait to say thank you to someone who assists you … helps you … extends a kindly gesture? Why wait until a loved one dies, before you tell that person that you care about them?
The “right time” to do the “right thing” is right now. And don’t expect that your actions will always be reciprocated or rewarded, because – as in my airport example – most often they will not. However, you can’t wait for others to be kind; you have to show them how.
Mark Twain wrote, “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Doing the “right thing” is to speak the language of kindness to others, while they are in a position to receive it. Make a point today – and everyday – to give kindness to people while they are in our midst. Give them “flowers” … while they are alive.
Recognized as one of the leading funny keynote motivational speakers, this article is an adaptation from Bob Garner’s popular free motivational podcasts. Listen at Bob’s funny keynote motivational speaker site and click on “Podcasts” at the bottom of the page.
©2012 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource.
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