My wife Linda once did this for a stranger. The car in front of her wrecked getting off a freeway and she was the first on the scene. She tended to the driver, who was seriously injured. She held him and let him know she was with him until the ambulance arrived. She found out later he died. She also found out later that he was the brother of one of her co-workers. His family was quite grateful to know that she was there with him and that he didn’t die alone. Linda felt good knowing that even as she was sad about the death.
Recently she was leaving church when two woman at a bus depot across from where she parked her car screamed they needed an ambulance. Linda didn’t see anything that led her to believe they really needed an ambulance and kept walking. The women started yelling and screaming at her, spewing hate and anger. Linda turned around and asked them if they really needed an ambulance. One of them yelled, “I need some food!”. Linda went across the street and offered the woman a protein bar. The woman said, “I don’t want that. I want a ride home!”. She then proceeded to throw the protein bar into the street toward Linda, who had started back towards her car. She got in and left. Linda felt bad at getting that response.
Two acts of kindness, two different circumstances, two different feelings. But that’s the thing about kindness.You have to do it because you just want to be a kind person. You can’t be kind with the expectation of a specific result. If that is the case you will quickly be disillusioned and bitter about being kind.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“No one ever became poor by being kind.” – adapted from a quote by Anne Frank
I have 4 daughters. Those are the seeds I can count.
I have coached over 1,000 runners. Those are seeds I can count.
I have produced hundreds of pieces of art over the years. Those are seeds I can count.
My daughters have had many relationships, travels, experiences, jobs, homes, discussions, and interactions. I can’t count those.
My runners have run in many locations and over many distances. They have talked to many people about running and our program. I can’t count those.
My art has been seen, shared, bought, displayed, discussed, printed, and talked about by millions (yes, millions) of people. I can’t count those.
Faith means knowing it’s not the amount of countable seeds that matter, it’s the uncountable apples, filled with love and kindness, that do.
Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Anonymous
Today is the final installment of my Kindness 101 series. I started it as one commissioned piece for Natalie Hamilton (@hammyton on Periscope, @nhammyton on twitter) but it turned into an entire series. This final one also happened to be in conjunction with me filling in for Natalie to do her daily Periscope #bekind101 challenge while she was on vacation. You can see the scope at the bottom of this post.
The world is filled with arguments. It isn’t just some current thing, it’s has always been filled with it. And many arguments are needed and necessary. We need to argue about policies of our government. We need to argue about what laws to pass and why.
But what we don’t need to do is argue in such a way that we are unkind. These can happen politics of course, but it’s usually amateur wannabe politicians who are the most cruel. Professional politicians and diplomats understand that even if you disagree with someone you will likely still need to work with them. And that isn’t going to happen if you trash them publicly. It’s why negative campaigning is always so hard to watch or listen to and it’s one of the reasons Donald Trump is so worrisome to many. The idea that he could be negotiating with a foreign power and calling them ‘loser’ or ‘3rd rate’ make people worried that it could lead to a disaster.
In most day-to-day cases, in person but especially online, arguing can often become so important to someone that they forget about being kind. They become hurtful and mean in a personal attack on a person instead. It even gets to the point that when a person tries to be kind to both sides in an argument and see each other’s position with some compassion and understanding, that person can be vilified from both sides as being not pure enough in their position. It can be a vicious cycle.
Recently for example the case of Kim Davis has been in the news. She is the Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She even went to jail over Labor Day weekend for being in contempt of court. I disagree with her position, simple as that. HOWEVER, I am not against her personally. I am not going to attack her religion or her marriage history or her or her husband’s clothing style. I think it is completely and utterly irrelevant. Not only that, it’s mean and hurtful. Putting that forward among many online who disagree with her position leads me to be suspect. I am not sufficiently angry. I am not sufficiently willing to attack her on all fronts.
But I think we should choose kindness even in the midst of our argument against her position and that means we don’t attack her personally.
You can view the periscope video that shows the creation of the drawing and the discussion about the ‘Kindness101 Challenge’ here.
Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Wayne Dyer, 1940-2015, American author and speaker
This is day #3 in the Kindness 101 series. It’s inspired by a daily challenge Natalie Hamilton (@hammyton) has been doing on Periscope called the BeKind101 challenge. 101 days of finding a new, creative way to be kind.
It’s the world we live in, isn’t it? Whether it’s political commentary or celebrity gossip or anything in between, judgment reigns supreme in the 21st century. Yes, I know it has been around and rampant before now but this new century, with it’s new methods of image and word communication, has unleashed a new, and particularly virulent, strain of judgment upon the globe. I know I see it all around me, in casual conversations and in momentous public proclamations.
Here are just a few examples of people and groups I have seen being judged with no knowledge at all of who they really are:
- Welfare Recipients
- Immigrants & Refugees
- Racial & Religious Minorities
- Gender Orientation
- Geographical Location
What are some other people or groups?
In the worst of these there is only judgment and no interest in understanding the real true life of those individuals.
Why is judgment so rampant and compassion so lacking? My own idea is that it has a lot to do with the separation of people from the individual they are judging. It’s easy to judge someone on the internet, not so easy to give that same judgment in person. It’s easy to judge a celebrity, who seems unreal. It’s harder to judge that same celebrity if you actually know them.
So, how do you, as an individual, combat this judgment culture? Here are my ideas.
- Focus your own mind on compassion, thinking and talking in terms of understanding and compassion instead of judgment.
- Forego joining the mob of judgers, whether online or in person.
- Actively defend those who are being unfairly judged.
- Seek out opportunities to be compassionate and understanding in your real life and online.
It’s as simple and as hard as this, isn’t it.
“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.”
Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Jesse Jackson, 1941 – not dead yet, American social activist
This is #2 in my series on Kindness, inspired by my periscope friend Natalie Hamilton’s (@hammyton) #bekind101 challenge. She is scoping for 1o1 days in a row on kindness. Each day she gives out another challenge on how to be kind. She asked me to draw something for her under that theme and I am doing a whole series as a result.
The Assumed Bad
If you were a religious Jew back in Jesus’ day you knew the rules. The rules were pretty simple. Don’t congregate, talk to, touch, befriend or help those of other tribes. One tribe in particular stood out as being one to avoid. The Samaritans. They were dangerous, crude, mean, and evil. They were to be avoided at all costs.
The Assumed Good
If you were a religious Jew back in Jesus’ day you knew who was at the top of the God heap, the Levites. They were the tribe from which the priests of the temple came. Not all Levites were priests but all Levites were given special privileges and had higher expectations placed on the due to them being from that tribe.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus tells the story of a man who gets robbed, beaten, stripped naked and left for dead along the road to Jericho. A Jewish priest walks by and crosses to the other side of the road to avoid the doomed man. A Levite also walks by and crosses the road to avoid the man. Then a Samaritan comes upon the same man. He does not cross the street to avoid him, helping him instead. He tells the story in response to a question from an expert in the Jewish law.
Here is the passage. It is from Luke 10:25-37 in the New Testament of he Christian Bible.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Action vs Intent
The reason this story is known is because the Samaritan took action. If the Samaritan had just thought about doing something good he would have been doing the same thing the priest and the Levite were likely doing, saying to themselves, ‘It would be good to help but I am in a hurry. The robbers might still be around. The guy might be faking it and wanting to rob me himself. I don’t really have the skills to help him or any number of other self-serving rationalizations and even some valid reasons.
The Samaritan took action. Kindness requires action. You can’t be kind in your head alone. If your kindness does not come out in your words, your hands, your feet, your actions, then it really doesn’t exist at all.
You can see the creation of this drawing and a very interesting and intense discussion about it and many other things on my periscope broadcast.
I have been commissioned to do a napkin drawing on the topic of kindness for a fellow Periscoper. I decided to do an entire series on the topic. Here’s the first.
No Day But Today
It’s 5am on a weekday morning. I see a woman getting gas right next to me. I notice she is on the phone being perky, positive and upbeat to whoever is on the other end. I am feeling tired and not at all ready to go running this early. I am doing it grudgingly because I have an obligation to some friends to show up. While I wait for my tank to fill up I listen to her side of the conversation. By the end her enthusiasm and joy has made me feel a lot better about my morning. My outlook has completely changed in the course of 2 minutes.
Wow, who would have thought that overhearing some random person could be so uplifting? I think about saying something to her to let her know how her positive attitude has really changed my morning. I want to thank her. But then she will know I was eavesdropping. She might think I am a creep. She might get mad. I might scare her. She might think I am hitting on her. I should respect her space. I decide to not say anything. She drives away, I drive away. I sort of wish I had said something but it’s no big deal, just a random event at a gas station, not life changing after all.
I run with my friends and two of them tell me my positive attitude really helped them get in a better mood. I tell them about the woman at the station and how I was going to say something but didn’t. Most of them say they wouldn’t have said anything either. It would have been too awkward. But one fellow runner says she wishes I had said something. She says, “You can’t do a kindness too soon for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
I say, “Maybe I will see her next week at the same station, then I will say something to her.”
My friend says, “That would be nice, do that.”
I go home and switch on the TV to watch the news while I change for work. The news is filled with reports of a shooting in a neighboring town. A reporter and her cameraman were shot and killed. What a tragedy. Then they flash the picture of the reporter on the screen. It’s the woman from the gas station.
Fiction and Reality
This is not a true story about me and a woman at a gas station. But it might have been. There was a woman gunned down, Alison Parker, along with her co-worker, Adam Ward, this week in Virginia. Maybe she did get gas at 5am. Maybe she was on the phone, perky and awake. Maybe someone wanted to let her know she was a positive influence that day. I hope if they felt it, they said it. I hope someone gave the kindness they wanted to give to Adam as well. But I don’t know.
But I do know that we never know. And because we never know, we should always err on the side of expressing the kindness we feel when we feel it, instead of waiting for the perfect time or circumstance.
You can see the process of drawing this napkin and the ‘Guess the Quote’ game we played while I drew it.
Drawing, video and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson