A Lesson in Kindness
May 22, 2012 by
Categories: Miscellaneous

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
–Andy Rooney

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to visit family . It was our puppy’s first road trip, and she behaved wonderfully. Since her adoption, she had her first opportunity to interact with another dog.

Ginger, a golden retriever, is a family gem. By far, she is the best-natured animal I have ever met.  Although she is past her puppy years, she was able to keep up with the little one.

While the dogs wrestled, I noticed that Ginger knew the limits of how far she could go. Although Ginger could easily fit her entire mouth around our puppy’s neck, she never applied pressure. As the puppy crawled under and jumped over her, she never snipped back. When Ginger “play” growled, she knew how far she could take it before the pup would be hurt.  Even when she was exhausted with the little one still nagging her, she simply turned her head and walked away. In short, Ginger refused to be hateful or unkind. She was incredibly gentle.

Watching them roll in the grass and chase one another around the yard, I realized an important lesson in what it means to be kind.

As humans, we also know one another’s limits. I believe that our instincts tell us how far we can go before we will hurt another person – both physically and emotionally.  Many of us refuse to acknowledge those boundaries for a variety of reasons: too distracted to realize we crossed the line, too much trouble to pay attention to the feelings of others, or simply too focused on ourselves to care. I recognize that many of us cross that line unintentionally. Sometimes our instincts are too muddled by social customs or our own pain to realize that we pushed a little too hard. Sometimes we become too annoyed or exhausted to keep our actions in check, and we snip back.

Use today and take a deep breath. Re-center yourself so that you can listen to your instincts. Allow yourself to notice the vulnerabilities of others, and make the active choice not to exploit them. Be gentle. If Ginger can do it with a two-month-old puppy, I think we all can be kind with one another.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” – Khalil Gibran

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