Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kindness Begins with Me

            The requirements for each of my religion classes included a “becoming” project. I was required to choose a Christlike attribute and then develop that characteristic during the semester through weekly exercises. I worked diligently to develop the various attributes and learned a lot about myself in the process. Since I took this semester off from school, I am not taking a religion class and am not working on a becoming project. I miss the growing experience.

            I awoke on a recent morning and realized that words of a Primary children’s song were going through my mind. These words are about kindness and are as follow (“Kindness Begins with Me,” words and music by Clara W McMaster). 

I want to be kind to ev’ry-one, For this is right, you see.
So I say to myself, “Remember this: Kindness begins with me.”

            I understood that the Lord was telling me something, and I listened. Knowing that kindness is a Christlike attribute, I decided to do a becoming project on my own and share what I learn with others. While doing research on the topic of kindness, I found this quote from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of TheChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes….

Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.

            Now we know that kindness is a Christlike attribute, is the “essence of a celestial life,” and begins with the individual – me. How do I go about developing this characteristic?  Barbara A. Lewis wrote an article titled “Kindness” (Ensign, July 2017, 54-57).  She states the following.

Thinking kind thoughts is a Christlike attribute. Kindness originates in hearts and minds. A lack of kindness can begin with critical thoughts of others, and it can develop into a habit of finding fault. However, if we accept responsibility for our own reactive thinking, we can become more charitable. Rather than judging others, we grow in understanding and kindness.

Kindness in the home, workplace, church, and school can open passages to hearts that have been blocked with misunderstandings. Showing kindness to others allows them to let go of angry feelings so they can focus on real issues. Kindness helps us and others feel acceptance and gain confidence.

            Lewis shares several stories of prophets, apostles, and children as examples of showing kindness to other people. Then she proceeds to give some suggestions on developing kindness.

Looking inside: Develop kindness within yourself.
. Look for times when God has touched your life with kindness.
. Read the scriptures on kindness in the Topical Guide.
. Pray to recognize opportunities to be kind to others.
. Think of kind things you could do and say each day.
. Practice how to react with kindness.

Looking outside: Find ways to show kindness to others.
. Recognize those who might need service or a kind act.
. Apologize whenever you should.
. Remain silent when someone speaks sharply to you.
. Notice the good things that others do and thank them.
. Forgive others and show them an increase of love.

            The world around us is rejecting Jesus Christ and His teachings and is increasingly unkind in the process. Therefore, there is much need for people to practice kindness. We are all children of a Father in Heaven, who loves us. He expects us to show love and kindness to each other in spite of our differences in skin color, religion, culture, or any other difference. There is no need to react with harshness and meanness to words or acts of others. Let us show kindness by remembering that “Kindness begins with me.”

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