It’s common these days to despair about the lack of courtesy and the increasing hostility in the world. And there is cause for concern: high-profile examples of anger and bitterness can leave us wondering about the state of humanity. We may even feel like withdrawing, despondent and fearful.
But then, every once in a while, a simple interaction with a stranger restores faith in humanity. You might be out shopping, for example, and you have to walk in front of someone. You say, “Excuse me,” and the person smiles slightly, nods, and says, “Go right ahead.” This person doesn’t even know you, but she makes way for you. If you fell, she would probably call for help. This is a person you could ask for directions. This is a person who might be a good neighbor.
When a student in a high school class sneezes, several peers say, “God bless you.” It’s a small thing, but this three-word prayer for good health is more evidence that people are basically kindhearted.
We even see tenderness in school children who comfort the one with a broken toy or share their food if another child has no lunch. Children come to this earth with innate caring and generosity—and those qualities never completely vanish from our hearts, even as we get older.
When someone needs to be rescued from a rushing river or oncoming traffic—or even just from oncoming personal trials—differences in politics, race, and culture become less important. People simply help people.
The world is basically good, and the best way to discover that is to be basically good. Most often, we do that in personal interactions, one person at a time. We can give sincere compliments. We can let the other driver go first. We can put the smartphone away and strike up a conversation with the person standing next to us in line.
We’re all traveling this life together as brothers and sisters on the same planet. When one of us sneezes, we all know what to say, and if one of us is hurting, we all know what to do. If we want to see more kindness, we can extend more kindness, and we’ll begin to notice it all around us.
April 25, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,780
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
The Morning Breaks
George Careless; arr. Mack Wilberg
A Child’s Prayer
Janice Kapp Perry
Oh, Watch the Stars
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg
And God Said: The Day Shall Dawn, from King David
When in Our Music God Is Glorified
Charles Villiers Stanford; arr. Mack Wilberg