What It Means to Have Courage & Be Kind
as explained by an Ordinary Pastor’s Wife
I had given my friend a wooden sign that read, “Have Courage and Be Kind.” At the time we were newer to our friendship and when I gave this to her, she read it initially thinking I was asking her to be more kind. Oh my goodness! How contrary to kind would that make me as a Pastor’s Wife, to give out signs to remind you to “Be Kind.” Fast forward a few years later and she tells me that she realized it didn’t mean that but we laughed at her initial response. Well, I told her, now that I think about it, “What does that mean, anyway?” We both laughed.
When I read it, I think of me and her, as businesswomen, going out into the world each day and being courageous and not feeling pressured to respond in a mean way just because we are women. To me, it was for women who tackle difficult topics, people, tasks or issues to lead change, tear down barriers and to push progress. This is so hard because sometimes I can barely make it out of the house in the morning without looking like I just lost a fight in a back alley.
These words also made me think of the little book my father-in-law purchased for me written by Mother Teresa and how she was able to look into the faces of people who are unreasonable, irrational, self-centered, unfaithful, enemies, and those with ulterior motives and was able to forgive them and be kind anyway.
Well, after explaining what the sign meant to me, my friend explained what the sign meant to her; it meant to put on your courage and go be nice. Even when it’s uncomfortable and you don’t want to. I loved this response and thought to myself how profound this was, and yet so simple.
Cinderella is super kind!
I consider Cinderella to be super kind and she even said, “Have courage & be kind.
We all know the story of Cinderella and her evil stepmom and stepsisters and how she was treated. Even though she was mistreated, living with genuine enemies and would never be good enough, she was kind anyway. Cinderella had the courage to overcome all these bumps in the road while still being kind. She didn’t let the evil surrounding her build a wall within her heart.
Well, this may seem far-fetched since it is a fairytale full of butterflies and sparkles. It can be so simple, by just a smile, or a genuine compliment, or sending a note of encouragement.
Kindness Conquers Meanness
When my kids were little, I remember calling my husband and saying, “I can’t do this” (with tears in my eyes). His response would be something like, “I love you and care about you but I am in a meeting with important people, what do you need?” As odd as it sounds, this would make me giggle as I realized it is just one day. I can do this. So as courageous and kind as I could be, I would engage with the children and make their food and have fun. One foot in front of the other. I’m doing this. It’s happening.
Can we continue to have courage and kind when we are scared or overwhelmed? When we have no idea what is coming next or what the end result will be or even how we will get to the end result? If you have stopped and asked yourself, “Am I doing this right? Am I making a difference?” Chances are you are on the right path.
It does take courage to be kind today because people are so skeptical and like to label nice people as “fake”. If given any real time to get to know this so called “fake” person, usually the skeptic will see the genuine kindness and softness within the person they labeled as “fake”. People enjoy being around people who are kind, compassionate, and see the best in others. I added recommendations below of some good books that remind us how to incorporate kindness into our lives and how to teach our kids the same.
Life is short and we sabotage ourselves time and again. But we are given the ability, while we are here, to pour out the goodness and kindness and do it as courageously as possible. There will be bad things, maybe even monumental and life changing awful things, in this world. Sometimes there will be less dramatic things such as difficult kids or laundry that never ends making kindness and courage seem like it could never happen.
Just do it!
Having courage and being kind out of the goodness of our hearts is what draws people to us and can change lives. We are not guaranteed we won’t have pain even though we are kind but it is such a better way to live. It isn’t about anyone else and his or her response to you, it is really between God and us. We may never get back what we hope for in goodness or kindness but like how my friend interprets the sign, “Have courage and be kind anyway! Just do it!”
It reminds me of John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.”
So Simple. Have Courage and Be Kind. Let’s Do This!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog & please submit any prayer requests at the link below: