Thursday, May 25, 2017

Always Stay Humble and Kind!

Whenever the world seems to have lost all respect, and turning on the news gives me that feeling in the first 30 seconds, I try to reflect on things I learned when I was very young.  Respect comes in many forms, and though we’d all like to ‘fix’ the world every time we see political and social principles denigrated, I always remember something I heard my mother say when I was growing up.  She was talking to my Uncle Henry at the time.  He was complaining loudly about the state of the world (back in the 1970’s!) and that my parents weren’t helping the situation by isolating themselves and tying themselves down with six kids.

A little background here…my parents had six children, of which I was the oldest.  Suffice to say, they had their hands full.  My Dad worked overtime on a constant basis to feed and clothe his family, and my Mom was a full-time EVERYTHING, literally feeding, clothing, and passionately raising her six children 24/7.   

What my Mom said to my Uncle that one Saturday night has stayed with me for life.  She realized that she wasn’t going to fix the world as a mother of six.  She didn’t have the additional time and energy that would require.  By the way, she said that respectfully.  But what she could do to help the world to make sure that her children grew up feeling loved, cared for, and respected.  She likened it very much to the speech that Robert Kennedy gave about ripples on the pond.  Take care of those closest to you first, and their energy will ripple out and touch others.

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind*

I’ve always tried to make sure those around me felt those lessons I learned as a child.  Good work and kindness was always rewarded in my childhood.  The reward didn’t have to be much more than a knowing and appreciative smile from my mother to know I’d done the right thing.  It has paid off hundreds-fold in my work career and life in general.  Recognizing goodness in others is a hallmark of respect.  As a supervisor and manager in my early corporate days, I built a reputation for being fair, encouraging, motivated, and kind.  I don’t tell you that to make myself look good.  That came naturally to me because of the great teachings and examples my parents set.  I always felt recognized when I did something great, and it was obvious when I didn’t as well.  It was only natural to me to share that kindness and respect with those closest to me, be it a work-related person, or a friend or family member.   Fortunately I always seemed to be in position to help others and that wasn’t coincidence, that was learned.

When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind*

The events of May 22, 2017 in Manchester, England underscore what I’m trying to say.  When tragedy struck that city at the hands of a suicide bomber, residents from all over the city came to the site and lent a hand wherever they could.  Cab drivers and passersby took people away from the carnage, and returned repeatedly to do so, not knowing if the danger was over.  People locally opened their homes and sheltered those who were traumatized and hurt.  And the whole city banded together the next day to pray for those killed and hurt in their wonderful city.  They didn’t resort to hatred or screaming.  They united instead and reveled in their strength.  No one directed people to do the things they did to help that day.  And no one affected by the terrorist bomb expected the help by everyday people. Yet, there were heroes everywhere…helping wherever they could.

Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind*

The arch of this blog should be fairly obvious for those taking the time to read it.  We all have a hand in setting the examples of love, respect, kindness and humbleness for ourselves, for our children, and for each other.  There is no magic wand to fix all the hatred in the world.  It’s not something that you can wish away or even pray away.  But if everyone takes just a minute to reflect on the things you were taught as a child, the never-ending lessons of love and respect for each other that keeps us together as families, you’ll find it easily extends to those immediately around us, and then continues to ripple outward to those we don’t even know.  Always stay humble and kind!

* The song, ‘Humble & Kind’ was written by Lori McKenna.  It was recorded first by singer Tim McGraw and then also by Lori McKenna.


  1. I need help... I am a mess...need to be grounded

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