“Just imagine they have a crying baby in the backseat.”
A statement that I always have in the back of my mind. Weird, I know.
When I was in my mid-twenties (which, for the record, was several years ago) I remember attending a training by a popular psychologist. The focus of this training was stress and anxiety and how to recognize that in others. The thing that stood out in this training was a picture he painted about stress and anger. Have you ever had to drive with a crying baby in the back seat of your vehicle? The loud screaming that can come from a hungry baby, one that may need changing, wants to be held, or just doesn’t want to be in a car seat can be a huge stress inducer. Trying to drive with that happening can be hard.
But what does that have to do with being kind?
Be Kind to Humankind
Everyone has a story, and many of those stories we may never know. It is easier to provide grace and empathy for someone when we know more about them. What about the people we only have brief encounters with? The cashier at a restaurant. Someone in line in front of you at a store. A mail carrier. Someone in the car next to you. Honestly, we have encounters with those we don’t know, more than we realize. Are we kind to them? Are they kind to us? Is it easier to be rude or harsh because we aren’t invested in them?
When someone is upset about something, maybe they are angry, rude, or just difficult to deal with—I think to myself: Maybe they have a crying baby in the backseat. They are probably trying to balance more situations than I realize, and it is becoming overwhelming and stressful for them.
I believe, now more than ever, being kind is needed. It is craved. All of us—ALL of us—have the opportunity every day to reaffirm faith in humanity for others. Making a positive impact big or small and in the actions that we do every day. How do you talk to people and treat others? Do you stop to think about someone’s behavior and try to assume positive intent? Could they have a crying baby in the backseat?
This year will mark the 32nd Annual Be Kind to Humankind week. Founded on the idea that it is the little, everyday behaviors that make a large impact on the lives of those around us. Be Kind to Humankind kicks off every year from August 25th through August 31st. If you check out their website, you will find suggestions for something small and impactful you can do every day to be kind. Examples like, letting a car in front of you in traffic, making conversation with someone while you wait in line, or dropping off cards at a nursing home. The little things end up making a big difference, and the biggest difference is usually in our own lives.
Being kind is a mindset in a lot of ways. We can start each day by reminding ourselves to try to assume positive intent when we talk to others, and to know that there is much more going on than we may know. This year has been an unprecedented one for everybody. Every single person has had to make changes and learn to adapt in some way to the differences this year’s events have brought. Now is a time to remind those around us that we are in this together.
We all need grace. We all need empathy. When we experience that from others and feel the positivity, we are more likely to pass it on to others. May we all take the time to remember that the biggest impact we make is through our behaviors and how we treat others.
We are different; our stories may be nothing alike, but if you have a crying baby in the backseat, I would love to help make a bottle, provide a pacifier, or help you get to your destination.