John Harbaugh: An Open Letter
Part of my spiritual practice is finding a reason to compliment strangers and those I love. When I encounter someone at the store with a funky attitude, I ask them how their day is going. If I see an older man dressed up, "lookin’ sharp", I let him know that he is clean as the board of health! Instantly, in those moments, I witness a transformation take place right before my eyes from offering a few kind words.
Where I really find satisfaction is when I compliment children. I have a particular affinity for little brown girls who wear their hair naturally and with little red headed children!
Yesterday, while walking into my daughter's gymnastics practice, I saw two fiery red headed boys with tons of freckles heading in as well. I exclaimed, “Your red hair is SO handsome on you!” The older boy ran off and the other boy stopped in his tracks, lowered his head and softly replied thank you. His grandmother stood behind him and quietly mouthed, “thank you!” as well. I went on about my business with my daughter and while we were purchasing a leotard, the little guy coyly walked up to me and awkwardly asked, “Do you remember me? I’m the boy you thought was handsome?” So I excitedly said, “Of course, how could I forget?” We then had a brief conversation where he told us his name was Taylor and he was six years old.
About an hour later, as I sat watching my daughter tumble and dance, Taylor came up to me and swiftly gave me the most tender hug, looked me in the eyes and said “Thank You for thinking I am handsome!” and rushed off. OMG!!!! I melted. Deeply touched, forever changed. Whatever worries I had in my heart were replaced with joy. I was reminded that heart speak crosses every boundary of age, race, color or socio-economic status.
You see, we all want someone to see us. We all are looking for a little validation. It is my prayer that little Taylor will remember this woman who thought he was handsome when he was only six years old. My hope is that he will fondly recall that very moment when a stranger told him hair was so attractive on him. And he will pass compliments on to another child or stranger.
Consider making kindness your spiritual practice this week. I promise, you will be repaid tenfold!
How will you show someone a little kindness? Let’s talk about it!