Acts of kindness are not always random
As I write this piece, I am sitting on a plane bound for Denver to spend some time bonding with my teenage son on a bike ride in the Rockies. When we land, I feel compelled to drive to Aurora to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the recent theater tragedy.
Which leads me to ask a lot of bigger questions, not only about the world but about myself.
Lately, I have been feeling the effects of life's changes from over the past year. These challenges are not any different for me than they are for anyone else in the world. From the loss of both of my parents to a career change and starting a business, this transitional period has been difficult at times to navigate in a positive light.
I find myself pondering these questions lately: Why are we so quick to judge others, or why do we need to judge at all? What gives us the right to think that the way we think or live is better than any other person?
How often do we really know what is going on in someone's life? How often are we quick to judge someone's actions or categorize someone's behavior in a moment in time?
For example, we have no idea if the person in the car next to us has lost a loved one, lost their job or is dealing with sadness. Why do we have to throw rocks at each other so quickly?
As parents, are we teaching our children the value of patience and kindness? When we have a carload full of kids and someone cuts us off, do we display calmness or rage? Our behavior is being observed and could potentially be repeated in our children's actions someday.
I like to think of these as "paying it forward" moments. Why is it easier to give someone the finger or stare them down in this situation over a simple wave or just letting the situation simply fade away?
The other day, my son asked me how my day was going. My reply was sharp — don't ask! He then asked in a different way: What are the positive things that happened in your day?
I struggled to find a response, when he chimed in and said, "Well, this is what I did positive today ..." That 30-second conversation was a gift that totally changed my perspective then and continues today.
I am a big fan of the Exceptional Living page on Facebook, a site that is full of enriching, positive words. Here is one of my favorites: "Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind."
We just landed in Denver. The flight attendant said, "Have a nice day and be kind to one another." Yes!
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at New Earth Market in Yuba City.