By Bruce Stambaugh
It’s New Year’s resolution time, a media driven folly I deplore. Consequently, I don’t participate in the declaratory hyperbole of over-hype that usually dissolves faster than an ice cube in a frying pan.
Last year, I offered up a friendly alternative to the impractical practice of setting New Year’s resolutions. I posted a personal, grandiose bucket list that I wanted to accomplish in my life. A good friend thought the text too self-centered and exclusive.
I quickly realized my friend was right on. Knowing that resolutions again would be on the mainstream media’s New Year’s menu, I desired something more productive with which to counter publicly and apply personally.
During my seemingly yearlong recovery last year, I had lots of opportunity for meditation and gratitude. At some point, I began including in my morning devotions a simple three part prompt that seemed all too obvious.
Whether I began or ended with the trilogy, I came away with a refreshing daily approach. The self-imposed, practical advice was both a reminder and a method of living that turned my bucket list on its head.
My little daily pep talk is about as simple and modest as I am. I desire to be nice, to be kind and to behave each day.
Given the fact that I will qualify for Medicare later this year, one would think I had that palpable trio already mastered. My friend, along with other contributions from my beloved wife, told me otherwise. I am human after all, and a man to boot.
Think of it as an offshoot of Kermit the Frog. Instead of “it’s not easy being green,” I submit that it’s not easy being nice, at least not all of the time. Nor is it always attainable to be kind, a close cousin to “nice.”
I don’t mean to be kind of nice either. I mean be nice. Be kind, and the end result will be that one will behave. Seems pretty logical to me.
I’ll give you that there isn’t much difference between being nice and being kind. I guess I see being nice as easy as holding a door open for someone. Being kind, on the other hand, is a compassionate extension of that precept.
Being kind equates with being generous. The way I see it, anyone can be nice. It takes extra effort to be kind. Kindness involves time, perseverance, patience, observation and action. I can be nice and hold a door for the next person through. I can be kind and anticipate that the person pushing their mother in a wheelchair will need to have the door held for them.
Putting nice and kind into play in my life forces me to look beyond my own immediate needs, and to watch for spontaneous opportunities to assist others, even in small ways. Other times, being nice and being kind come through planned events where I can make a difference in a positive manner.
By choosing positive, I am ensuring I am behaving. If I am behaving, I am being nice and hopefully kind, too. One begets the other with productive, positive consequences for all involved.
Be nice. Be kind. Behave. Those are constructive objectives I can live by everyday of the New Year. If I don’t, I’m sure my friend or my wife will remind me. I just hope they’ll be nice about it.