What I Meant to Say Was ...

This parenting gig … man, it’s confusing. Half the time, I’m driving blind, and the other half, I can’t even find the damn car. But we all do the best we can, right?

There's one thing I know for certain. I’ve won the lottery on the kid front. God must have taken one look at me and thought, “This one is gonna need some extra help.” Hey, I’ll take help any way I can get it.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. The story about what I meant to say ...

My son, the professor, recently changed schools. Seventh grade, thirteen years old, in the middle of the year, and he took it like a champ. The reason why has no bearing on the story, but the professor made a few comments about going out in a blaze of glory. “I’ll give the teachers and principals a big wave and shout 'Sayonara, suckers!’ as we drive away."

Ummmm … I don’t think so, little dude.

“But why?” he asks.

Why? Because you never know what will happen. You may end up back at that school in the future. Those teachers or even the principal may end up at YOUR new school. Your paths could cross in so many different ways.

So basically, be careful of the toes you step on today, because they may be attached to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow.

Sage advice. A little pat on the back was in order, if I do say so myself.

Except … I can’t stop thinking about what that means. What does it really mean to practice kindness in such a self serving way? Should we parcel out our good deeds only to those that may be able help us? Is that the lesson I mean to teach my son?

Absolutely not.

I’m not saying the age old proverb doesn’t have it’s place. I certainly will never make a stink when leaving a job, no matter the reason for leaving. I don’t see the point in making enemies that will haunt me in the future.

But shouldn’t kindness for the sake of kindness be our default? When I think about the professor, I truly hope so.

What if we ALL practiced kindness first? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Because here’s the thing—when we operate under self-serving rules, we tend to think everyone else around us has some kind of agenda. Then we’re looking under the covers of every compliment for the hidden meaning. We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But guess what? Sometimes, actually most of the time, there isn’t one. Because sometimes people are just plain old being nice, and isn’t that a wonderful thing?

So I pledge to cultivate kindness in its purest form. The type of kindness that reaps no rewards for the giver. And that’s the example I’ll set for my son. That’s what I meant to say ...

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