Monday, February 16, 2015

Kindness Begins . . .

A gracious hello. It has been a while since I've composed a blog post. In my defense, I found myself blitzed by the flu in January. Evidently this year's flu shot was not quite on the mark. ;) And when one's body is rebellious anyway, little items like the flu take their toll.

This month has been a blur as I've tried to catch up on everything, now that I'm back among the living. In way of good news, the days when I felt less than well gave me time to think about a few things. Hence, today's blog post.

We live in a time unparalleled for technological gadgetry. Within minutes, sometimes seconds, we can communicate with those who live across the country or world. We've enjoyed being able to Skype with our grandkids, and other loved ones who live far away. It's still amazing to me that with a touch of a button, keyboard, etc. we can send instant e-mails to family members who are serving in the mission field around the world.

Most of us carry a cell phone around with us on our daily adventures, making it easy for others to contact us when the need arises. Back in the day when I did quite a few booksignings, I often traveled alone and my family felt better when they knew I had a way to call for help if something went wrong.

While I've appreciated the many ways we can keep in touch with each other, sometimes I wonder if the ease of communicating leads to some of the conflict we're seeing in our troubled world. Because we can send out messages at practically the speed of light, unfortunate communication often takes place. We type before we think. We post things on social media before we consider the consequences, or ponder how some items will affect others. Gone are the days when we sat quietly and thoughtfully pondered each word as we wrote letters on fancy stationery.

In our neck of the woods an ugly beast has arisen, known as cyber bullying. Bullying has always been a problem. Consider what Cain did to Able, for example. But now it has a sharper edge, causing untold grief. My heart goes out to kids who tolerate horrific mean acts at school . . . and there is no escape when they return home. I suspect that most of us at one time or another, have experienced a form of bullying. Years ago when I was going to school, the nice thing was that once you arrived home, you had reached a refuge from all of that. It gave you time to work through what had happened that day, and a chance to figure out a way to deal with it the next. Not anymore. Through the advent of technology, the nasty fingers of bullying reaches into our homes through the internet, or our cell phones. For some kids, the harrassment takes place 24\7. There is no escape--and in time they lose hope that it will ever get any better.

I find it interesting that while there are so many good things we can do with the technology we've been blessed with, like geneaology, e-books, research, and positive communication with loved ones as I've already mentioned, some are choosing to use it in a negative fashion, sharing inappropriate pictures online and on their phones, and mean-spirited messages that tear others apart. As always, the adversary has taken a good thing and added a very ugly twist.

And since we've become used to being mean to each other online or via our cell phones, now it's extending to every day life. We're becoming a generation who feels that everyone is entitled to our opinion, and we have little tolerance for those that we consider different. We are impatient, since we are used to instant results online--we expect that same rate of service when we venture into stores. Instead of being kind to those around us, we practially snarl our frustration when we have to wait behind someone else in the checkout line. And heaven help the poor clerk if mistakes are made.

A few years ago, one of our sons worked in a local grocery store. He came home exhausted each day, sharing some of the negative adventures he had endured compliments of disgruntled customers. It shocked me when he revealed that there was one customer in particular who had been so repeatedly rude to all of the store clerks, the ones who could, would hide until he\she had left the store. How sad is that?

The question that keeps going around in my addled head is this: why can't we just be nice to each other? Why can't we be appreciative of the blessings we enjoy in this marvelous age of technology and use these wonders for good things--not something destructive or nasty?

Once again a well-known scripture passage comes to mind. It was indeed written for our day:

" . . . charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth . . . Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth . . . charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."
(Moroni 7:45-47)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's time to consider how we are treating each other. Are we patient? Are we kind? Do we repect others? Do we treat the people around us as we would want to be treated?

I know many of you are. I am constantly impressed by the good things that are taking place in our community, state, nation, and world. There are numerous good people, young and old, who are doing their best to emulate our Savior. A big gold star on all of your foreheads! Despite all of this, there is a need for improvement. When others are losing their desire to live because of how they are being treated, it's time to turn things around.

Smile at those around you. Offer a kind word or compliment to people who are doing their best. Refrain from being negative. Practice patience, especially when it's being tried. ;) Post uplifting thoughts and pictures. In short, do those things that will make this world a better place to live. 

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