Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had their bi-annual conference. On Saturday, while sitting in the priesthood session of conference the prophet’s words stuck out to me, “We do not honor the priesthood of God if we are not kind to others.” For me, as a parent and priesthood holder, this struck a chord—and it struck hard.
What happened in my life that made me become this person that I never wanted to me? Why is it that I have felt that becoming this, what I call honest, but really a sarcastic person is a good idea? When did putting others down become a regular part of my conversations?
When I was serving my mission in Visalia, California, I had become very close with a family. Just before arriving to that area I had injured my back. Doctors told me to wait until I got my doctor results back before getting back out teaching people. Because of this, I was spending all my days with a local dentist at his office. His wife would come and visit with me and we would talk about all the different things I needed to change in my life. How I needed to focus on what I was really doing.
This family became some of the closest people in my life, but for some reason when I would talk to them I would “joke around” and say some of the rudest things. I know this because I have videos of being with them. I cringe at that things I would say, thinking I was funny, but looking back completely regretting every word I uttered.
After seeing that I felt that I would work on being kind to others. I decided on making a smaller group of friends and doing anything I could to make them happy, even if that meant I wasn’t happy. Being walked on, taken advantage of and regularly used became a regular thing and I was sick of it. I decided it was time to just be honest, not hold anything back from those around me.
To my own fault, this became an awful decision. Now when I talk to people they always assume I am joking around. Never being taken seriously because of the sarcasm that I have always portrayed. Well, it’s time for a change.
Aristotle defines it as being “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helping himself, but for that of the person helped.” Here is something I know I can do. I know that I can be more helpful to others and not expect anything in return. For years, that is what I did and I want to be that person again.
Not only do I want to have people look at me and think how I am a genuinely kind person, but I want it to transfer over to my children. A third child will be here any day now and I want my kids to be kind to one another.
Our children have a way of making us a better person because they are watching us. We see ourselves in them and when that happens, we don’t want them to become what we have become. Kids are always watching you. Even when you think they aren’t.
Just because they are watching me doesn’t mean I need to become a whole new person. I do think it would be wise for all parents to really think about what our kids are learning based on how we behave. If I can be kinder to those around me and my family, I can hopefully see my children choosing to be kind to others.
Another thing got me thinking about this was the ninth anniversary of the death of one of my best friends. If you knew him, you knew he was the nicest person ever. He was a prime example of what kindness is. Dropping anything he was doing to help out a friend, never wanting anything in return. Because of thinking him so much right now, I think it’s making me want to make changes in my life.
“Let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. As we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.” It’s a difficult journey, but you don’t have to make it more difficult for yourself and those around you. Let’s choose kindness.