WHO’S READY FOR SPRING?
This annual issue is always one of my favorites because of the excitement that’s palpable in the air. Derby, warm weather and the beckoning of new beginnings always seems to bring out the best in all of us.
I am also excited about this edition because of the numerous Southern Indiana cities and towns represented in these pages.
As always, thank you for taking the time to pick up Extol.
For more than two years, I’ve repeated these same words to my now-3-year-old daughter every morning on the way to preschool:
“Olive: You are smart. You are kind. You are important. You are beautiful inside and out. Everyone matters. Treat people with kindness.”
It’s my adaptation of a scene in the novel-turned-movie, “The Help,” but it’s also a more poignant version of what I’ve told myself for decades. And depending upon where I’m at in life, some phrases resonate more than others.
Lately, this one means the most:
“Everyone matters. Treat people with kindness.”
Despite the constant barrage of social media and news outlets asserting the contrary, I believe most of us care about our neighbors and complete strangers and are willing to make people feel like they matter by inserting small acts of kindness into our everyday lives – holding a door, letting someone slide in ahead of us in traffic, simply saying, “Thank you” or “I’m sorry,” or offering a helping hand. These minor moments matter.
And, sometimes they can affect others far more than we ever imagined.
Olive, my daughter, is old enough that she now speaks our daily affirmation without prompting. She recently said it in the grocery store and brought a fellow shopper nearly to tears. As rewarding as it was to see the fruits of my labor, my heart hurt: Shouldn’t kindness and the acknowledgment of its power be the exception and not the rule? Listening to a toddler as she looks at a complete stranger and says with complete confidence, “You are kind, you are smart, you are beautiful,” should evoke a smile, not tears, at least not tears of despair. But, the woman at Kroger explained her reaction: “You just don’t see this anymore.”
Maybe she doesn’t – and I pray she sees more – “ but I do, and I know many of you do, too.
So, here’s my challenge: Send me your accounts of acts of kindness – yours or others. Big and small. They matter. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me by searching @angiefenton2 on Facebook. Let’s keep the kindness going, and I’ll work to let others know and spread the good – kind – news.
Editor In Chief