I was privileged to meet with Anaheim Mayor, Tom Tait, earlier this month. The mayor asked me about our congregation and then told me about the initiative he is supporting for the city. Basically, it is an attitude of kindness in our dealings with one another. I promised that I would urge all of you to be a party to the practice of kindness!
I realize that some of us, myself included, don't reside in Anaheim even though the city is home to our congregation; however, it seems to me that the practice of kindness is something that would benefit all of us and certainly be a boon to whatever community we call home. It is, after all, an attitude that will bring many dividends to us, as we practice it, and to those we encounter. And, at heart, it isn't that difficult.
What kindness means to me: assuming that there is good in everyone I meet, cutting individuals some slack when it's clear they are having a bad day, recognizing that we often are crabby when we're tired, not feeling well, or frustrated by life, and looking for ways I can bring joy to whatever situation I encounter. [Note: joy is not the same thing as fun -- it may well mean the good feeling that comes from hard work or serious endeavor.] I've found that sometimes all it takes is a smile, on my part, to bring someone out of the dumps, and when that doesn't do it, a sympathetic comment generally does.
Mayor Tait is inviting us all to get to know our neighbors. He calls it his "Hi Neighbor" program, and he told me about how it worked for him when he invited his neighbors to come to his home just to get acquainted. They came in droves and that get-together has changed the way they relate to each other on a daily basis. Again, not all of us live in Anaheim, but I suspect we could encourage friendliness wherever we do live. And, while we're at it, our congregational home could reach out to those around us and be good neighbors, too.
I urge you to think about what you might do to share kindness with others. Small note: kindness should start with ourselves and what better way to do that than to make good connections with those around us!
In the meantime, may you