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Maybe it is that simple.

September 8, 2010

A few years ago I joined a group of women at a “thank you for your commitment and service to education” brunch at the school district superintendent’s home.  There were administrators, teachers, support staff, most with many years of service educating our children.  We enjoyed good food, good conversation, and the connection that comes with a shared purpose.

I said my “good-byes” and stood to leave.  On my way to the door one of my colleagues said, “Before you go, give us some words of wisdom.  You always have such good things to say.”  There are a dozen reasons why a sudden, unexpected request requiring a quick, verbal response turns my brain into a black hole and my mouth inoperable that I won’t go into now.  All the visiting had stopped and all eyes were on me.  I think I said something like a profound “Uh……….” which bought me a little time.  And then it came to me.  A question I had been asking myself almost daily for the past several months.  So I said:

“Nearly every day before I walk into school I ask myself, ‘I wonder what would happen if we were all just nice to each other today?'”

Everyone smiled, made a few comments, and I made my exit.  The question stayed with me.  I hear it in my head at work, at board meetings, listening to the news, observing parents and their children, and listening to political candidates.  What if it really is that simple?  As simple as being nice to each other.  How might things change if we were just nice to each other. . .

  • in discussion and debate
  • in difference and disagreement
  • during conflict and confrontation
  • with adversaries and antagonists
  • with family, friends, and even strangers

Perhaps Plato had pondered this question when he said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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