At school you have probably seen the word Kindness on a poster taped up on a wall in one of the hallways. But do you really know what it means to be kind?
When I was a young boy I lost my dog. He was a black cocker spaniel/ beagle mix, his name was Corky. He was a loving dog who would always give me kisses on my face with his snake-like tongue. Once he tried to clean off the peanut butter that had stuck to my cheek from my sandwich. The peanut butter then stuck to his tongue and it took a lot of licking before it dissolved in his mouth. Corky and I were best of friends, I used to throw him the Frisbee and he would run and jump three feet in the air to get it. He was also a great outfielder when we played baseball in our backyard.
When I was happy, Corky was happy. When I was sad Corky would lay his head on my belly and give me comfort. Everyday he gave me love and kindness. If I lost my shoes he would help me find them or if I didn’t wake up when the alarm clock rang in the morning he would lick my feet, tickling me until I was awake.
One day I left him out in the backyard not knowing the fence gate was left open. When I called him he didn’t come. I ran up and down the street but I couldn’t find him. There were a group of kids down the street on their bikes and they heard me calling his name. They asked me if I needed help. I didn’t even know these kids and they were offering to help find my dog. I told them what he looked like and they all separated going up and down the neighboring streets.
Fifteen minutes went by and there was no sign of him; thirty minutes and still no Corky. I was sad thinking I may never see him again. Then I heard the kids on their bikes screaming in unison, “WE FOUND HIM!” I turned around and saw the bikes riding in formation almost like Canadian geese. The leader had a big basket on the front of his bike and in it was Corky. He looked like ET with dark hair and a pink tongue hanging out. I ran to him and he jumped out of the basket into my arms, licking the tears of joy from my face.
That day I learned what the word kindness means. Here were kids from all over the neighborhood, many who didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. Together they threw down their hockey sticks, baseball gloves and jump ropes to stop what they were doing to help find another kids dog. That’s what kindness is. It is helping someone who needs you. It is being polite to your teachers and parents. It is being nice to your classmates and friends. It is holding the door for someone or knowing not to talk when someone else is talking. Kindness doesn’t begin with someone else it begins with you.
Copyright Richard Paul 2004