What if each person on earth wore a sign? The signs might read things such as this:
If we all wore signs that let people know who we are and how we are, wouldn’t it make a difference in how we view each other? It’s like that old story about the man and his five kids on a bus: they all came in; the kids screaming and yelling, bothering people and generally making a nuisance of themselves. The father sat down by himself and seemed to be immune to the noise his children were making.
Finally a woman confronted the man and asked him to control his children as they were annoying people. He smiled wearily at her and replied, “I know that, and I’m sorry. You see, their mother just died and they don’t know what to do. Neither do I.”
The whole atmosphere of the bus changed once they knew what was going on. People turned immediately from irritation to compassion because they then saw and understood the man’s “sign.”
So many people are hurting for one reason or another, and, just by looking at them, we do not know what they are going through. When in doubt, kindness is a good choice. It costs nothing to be kind, and even if the person you are being kind to doesn’t respond, it’s still a good thing.
Kindness is one of those things that is always acceptable. It lifts up others and it also lifts us up. We may never know who around us might be suffering. As no one wears a sign to let us know that they are having a hard time, it never hurts to be kind. Even if someone rebuffs the kindness, it is still a gift to both the receiver and the giver.
Or, as my fabulous late mother-in-law always said, “it couldn’t hurt.”