Be Kind-Able

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Sometimes the word 'responsibility' sounds like a drag. So instead, think of yourself as 'Kind-Able.'

As living creatures on this beautiful earth, many would say we have a responsibility to take care of our planet. It is our responsibility to protect those that do not have a voice; our responsibility to help those in need; our responsibility to be the best individuals we can be...and on and on... When you add up all the responsibilities, that's an awful lot of pressure on each one of us. And sometimes, with all that pressure comes the opposite effect- we feel over-burdened. The weight of the world rests on our shoulders and instead of feeling inspired, we feel as though we can't do enough to make everyone happy. But there is the rub of it all - it is not our responsibility to make everyone happy all the time. Happy doesn't always constitute kindness.

There will be times in our lives when we accidentally hurt those we love most and there will be times when we completely space out and don't do anything one way or another. Let's face it, we are not perfect and we make mistakes each and every day. Rather than staying up nights thinking of all the things I didn't do, or worrying about how I will meet all my responsibilities, I tend to look at things in a whole other way. I just try to be kindable.

That's right, I said kindable. As in Kind-Able. As in I am able to be kind, it's within my reach. I can handle kindable. Sometimes I don't much feel like handling all my responsibilities, but kindable I can do. To be honest, once you get the hang of it, it's kind of easy. Some of the most successful people on earth often talk about how the trajectory of their lives was set by their own personal attitudes. It's not the situation that defines us, it is the way we respond to situations that is most important of all. My life experiences so far have taught me to look at kindness not as a responsibility. Instead, it is a choice. And when I look at it that way, it's pretty easy to get it right. It's my choice to open a door for a stranger. It's my choice to ignore the elderly person struggling with her groceries or help her. At the end of the day, I have to live with myself and the choices I make. I would much rather fall asleep at night with the satisfaction I did my best to help that elderly woman with her groceries rather than closing my eyes knowing I chose to ignore her difficulty and struggle.

The students, faculty and staff at North Rockland High School have a program called Best Buddies. Best Buddies empowers youth to become advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They inspire by action and show that it is not our responsibility to treat everyone with dignity, it is our choice. For them, being Kind-Able is a way of life and I am so inspired by what they do.

Remember, it's your choice to be kind. What will you choose?

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