What Will Change Everything? Love.
Today is the last day of February. The last day of Black History Month - although not the last time we should all be seeking to learn more about every member of society and the large impact that black and brown people have had on this world. For some, it's the last day of their birthday month (like me!) or perhaps it's the last month that a loved one was seen or spoken to. It may have been the month that a loved one really felt the presence of God in their lives. Or maybe felt complete silence and asked the question, "who is God? Where is God? Is He listening?". February may be the shortest month of the year however, it is no different than other months with the amount of information and events being thrown our way. KAE's message is 'kindness above everything' but what does that really mean? For me, I am a Christian first before anything else in this world. God calls us to love each other as we love ourselves. If we truly understood what that meant and reflected on those words, there is no way we could do harm or think poorly of another person. Why? Because we wouldn't want any of those things things done to ourselves.
As we leave one month and enter the next, I encourage you to join me on not only reflecting but intentionally living life just a little bit kinder. Here are a few ways to get us all started:
1, Do not leave Black History Month in February. There are many names we will never learn. I attended private school from K-12th grade. I only learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman every year. Why? Because unfortunately this world has not been fair in handing out gratitude and accolades equally. However, we are living in an interesting time - without a doubt. Injustices are being called out and gaps in knowledge are being filled by those willing to do the work and inform the masses. Now, are we as far along as we should be? Nope. Not even close. But what we do each day determines if we are getting closer or further away from that place. A place filled with true potential for everyone and less reminders that diversity, equity, equality and inclusion are needed because it is understood and applied. Let's continue doing the work, learning new things, keeping our circles diverse, listening to others, committing to memory everything you have learned this month about Black History, and inviting others not only into the conversation, but into our hearts.
2. Every time you interact with another person, imagine your face on that person. Ask yourself, "how would I want to be spoken to? How do I want to feel leaving this conversation? What can I do to show that I'm listening and want to gain the most from this interaction?" Now, we won't get it right every time. That is expected. However, our interactions and encounters should be getting kinder. No excuses.
3. This world is getting more and more informed but also much more brutal. We stand with our black, brown and Asian brothers and sisters who are being treated unfairly due to the ugliness in this world and in people's heart. We also stand with our white brothers and sisters who are doing their part to learn how they can be true friends, educators to their peers and allies to those who demand and deserve their support. For those reading this, let this be your call to action to take another oath of kindness. To speak out against injustice and unkind situations/events/people and promote the message of kindness whether it be in casual conversation with a friend or one with your colleague. The older I get, the more I realize that we have more power and impact than we think. And it is our responsibility to use those two things for good. God did not create us to exist and do so passively, but to look at life in the eyes and do our part to make our corner of the world kinder.
4. Quick story - My husband and I went to Trader Joe's and while we were there, we decided to pick up two bouquets of flowers for my aunt who lives up the street. My aunt is always thinking of us and calling and asking if there is anything we need each and every time she is leaving her house. As we are shopping, I hear "Alicia!" We both look. It's my aunt! The one we were buying flowers for. So we chat for a little and tell her the story about the flowers. We both end up checking out next to each other, and as she's walking out, my husband runs to bring her the flowers we had just bought for her. I'm wearing my KAE mask the entire time of course. Our cashier compliments my mask and then another cashier asks, "Do you know that woman? I see your mask and I'm wondering if you're doing a random act of kindness." We tell him that she's my aunt but we also share with him that we do believe in doing kind acts for others as well!" So it got me thinking - here's a challenge for you reading this. The next time you go into any store (I recommend Trader Joe's if you can because the flowers are fairly inexpensive), buy one bouquet and tell the cashier to give it to the person behind you. I know this has been done with coffee but let's label this the "KAE bouquet of love". Tag us in a pic of you with the flowers (@kae_collection) and use the hashtag #KAEbouquetoflove. In your caption, explain how it made you feel to do something like that for a stranger. Also share why you think kindness is important. Let's spread love. Not only in words but in action. :-)
5. Join a community. Once a month, KAE hosts 'A Space for Grace'. In March, the topic will be friendships. We invite the first 15 people to register. In this virtual event, we'll be venting (in a healthy way), chatting, asking for advice, and meeting new friends. You can register by checking back at the end of this week and clicking on the 'Events' tab. Remember, it's only open to the first 15 people. We wanted to ensure that it is not too large of a group that voices get drowned out and also not too small of a group that things feel a little awkward. Tell a friend to tell a friend. :-)
We've got our work cut out for us to make this world kinder however, each one of us is more than equipped to do so. Continue with kindness and know that we are all in this together rooting each other on. Also remember that you have more impact that you are giving yourself credit for.
Happy March friends. Live loved.