PJI JOURNAL: Spring Summer 2021: The Power of Kindness

Friday, February 19, 2021

By Michael Moniz, Professor Speech

I want you to think about the last time you experienced kindness. What was that experience of kindness and how did you feel?

It is common that when we think about kindness, we think about an experience when we received kindness and not a time when we were kind to someone else. This is because when you are kind to someone you don’t expect anything in return. You simply just choose to be kind. You didn’t choose to be kind to get something. You choose to be kind to give to someone else.

One day I was rushing to the mall because I really wanted a cinnamon pretzel. It was pouring rain but I had a huge umbrella and it wasn’t a long walk from the parking garage to the store. As I started running, I noticed a woman who was about to cross the street as well. She couldn’t get her umbrella to work. I stopped, turned around and walked her to the store. It took a few minutes to help her and I was off to get my cinnamon pretzel. I chose to be kind in that moment.

Being kind to others does not have to be an extreme undertaking. It simply happens in daily choices we make in our lives. Kindness can be smiling at people you see as you walk by. You can be kind by holding the door for others, taking the time to listen to a friend or not choosing to give that hand gesture in traffic. You can be kind to others by being mindful with your words before you speak, post, tweet or comment. Every day we are given many opportunities to choose to be kind.

One day I was going to the doctor’s office to get the results from some medical tests. I was scared, anxious and worried. It started to pour rain and I was struggling with an umbrella that just wouldn’t open. I noticed a man with an umbrella run from his car to the door and stop, look at me and run over. He offered to walk me to the door. When we got to the door, I thanked him for helping me. He didn’t know how much I needed his kindness in that moment or how much that simple gesture helped me to feel better about my day. He simply just replied, “No problem. I figured you would do the same for me.”

I choose to be kind because we are all humans. I choose to be kind because I never know who needs it or whenever I might need it. I choose to be kind because I can. I hope you choose to be kind as well.

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