Kindness? Priceless…

Whew! We made it through 2019. We all have about a week of respite to sit back, relax, reflect and rest until we’re hit in the face with all that 2020 will offer: the impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate, primaries to determine the Democratic presidential nominee, and….and…

Between now and Monday, January 6, we will have time to take a collective sigh of relief that this year is ending. This is an important time to think about what we want to accomplish, personally, in the new year, and take stock of the year ending.

Just as world peace begins with each of us, civility in society begins with each of us, too.

It is almost a certainty that everyone wishes for world peace—it’s a common holiday wish. While we cannot do anything about strife and unrest in other parts of the globe, we all can do our part in working towards peace in our own backyard.

A oft-posted Facebook message states that kindness, politeness and courtesy don’t cost a thing. That is true; everyone can be kind to their fellow man. We are all the center of our own universe, but life takes on a positive glow when we endeavor to think outside of ourselves and realize that our equals are our fellow citizens—of Keizer and the world.

No one’s desires take precedence over anybody else. Consideration of others is taught in grade school and gradually fades as we reach adulthood. Why does what we learn in first or second grade become less important? Selfishness is not an inherent trait; it is a learned behavior. 

One of my favorite books is Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, from 1986. The bestseller, comprised of 50 short essays, explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, such as sharing, being kind to each other and more.

It may seem simplistic, but much basic tenets are. There is nothing complicated here; what once served us well as children can still serve us as adults. 

Society’s mouthpiece, i.e., social media, allows many people to anonymously opine without the messiness of face-to-face communication. We have become polarized, not just in regards to politics but also culture, history and community. We tend to disagree over things that don’t matter. I’d rather we disagree and argue over the biggest issues we all face.

Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year for 2019 is “they” as it relates to one’s choice of their personal pronoun.

The word of the year for 2020 should be consider. Let’s consider the point of view of others. Let’s consider how our actions affect the world and those around us. Let’s consider how life can be when we treat strangers like friends or family.

Over the next week, you can bet I’ll be considering all of that plus the challenges that’ll come with the new year.

(Lyndon Zaitz is publisher and editor of the Keizertimes.)