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    This Is My Life! Contest Winner 
 Category:  Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction
  Posted: May 23, 2018      Views: 234

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 ABOUT
BANANAFISH308 

Bananafish308 is the proud father of three children, an accountant by trade, who has been inspired by his wife and children to break free of these shackles and pursue his life-long desire to write. His passion for writing is equaled by his passion f - more...

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A simple philosophy
"Be Kind" by Bananafish308



A little over a year ago my youngest son Danny made his Bar Mitzvah. It is customary at a Bar Mitzvah for one or both parents to give a speech about their son. Like many people, I experience more than a bit of anxiety when it comes to public speaking, so I was quite relieved when my wife mentioned that she would give the speech. Soon after, though, my relief was replaced by a different and disturbing emotion -- regret. I realized that my son's Bar Mitzvah was a once in a lifetime event for him and one of the very special days he will experience. If I didn't find a way to overcome my fear and honor my son with a speech, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life.

At that moment, I decided that I would spend the weeks leading up to the special day steeling myself to give a speech. I didn't tell my wife, so as to not have the added pressure of expectations. I figured if no one but myself knew about the promise I made to myself, I could always back out and no one would ever know. This psychological game I played with myself worked. As the big day drew closer, with no pressure on me, I started to gain confidence that I could do this.

The day before, I told my wife that I would join her and also give a speech. Now that I was committed, one final little chore remained -- actually writing the speech. Up to that point, I had directed all my energy toward overcoming my anxiety over public speaking, so I hadn't given any thought to the actual speech. At about 10:00 that night, after finishing the last of what seemed like endless preparations for the following day, I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down at my computer.

I wrote Danny's speech in about 20 minutes, with minimal editing. It was the easiest thing I have ever written, as I knew what I wanted to say about my son. I opened up with what I thought was an amusing anecdote from when Dan was a baby. The anecdote was a lead-in for me to describe certain qualities of his that made his mother and myself very proud. I then stated that the quality of Dan's that I am most proud of, and treasure most, is his heart. I described that Danny "has a gentle kindness that is truly touching." In closing, I turned to him and offered the following words of advice to my son:

"Danny, never ever lose that quality. The impulse to treat others with compassion is more valuable than all the riches in the world."

This advice to my son sums up my philosophy on life. I believe that we are all defined by our humanity, and compassion is the noblest of impulses. If there was more compassion in the world, I believe this world would be a different and better place.

I believe the true heroes are those who are dedicated to humanitarian causes. Obvious names such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa come to mind, but there are numerous unsung heroes in many walks of life. These unsung heroes provide unconditional help and comfort to those in need, without regard for whether or not they deem the recipient worthy of their kindness. Their kindness is based solely on need, not merit.

One such unsung hero is Tom Walker. He is a baseball coach at Wake Forrest. Back in 2011, one of his baseball players, Kevin Jordan, was afflicted with a condition that left both kidneys functioning at only 8%. He was in dire need of a kidney transplant, but none of his family members were a match for the transplant. It turned out that Walker was a match and he made the incredible, selfless decision to donate one of his kidneys to Jordan, which saved the young man's life.

Of course, Mr. Walker's act of kindness was extraordinary, however, the small, everyday acts of kindness also have an impact. Imagine if all people committed to erring on the side of compassion. Instead of blaming or judging those less fortunate, imagine if we all chose to empathize with them. Imagine if we all chose to put ourselves in another's shoes and tried to understand why they are in the situation they are in. What would be the downside of that? If it turns out that the person is human like all of us, and might not have made all the best choices in life, so what? Is kindness ever wasted? My answer to that is a resounding: NO! As I see it, the result of this approach would be a kinder, gentler society.

All this can be encapsulated in two simple words of advice: Be Kind. If one practices this simple philosophy, so many other things in life fall into place. Now, this doesn't mean that life won't still present endless, daunting challenges and tribulations. I do believe, though, that this approach to life will enrich both the person's life and all their human interactions. Isn't that what life really is, in essence, a journey in which people continuously come into and out of our lives? We all have the same power to make each one of those a wondrous, memorable encounter, rather than just another encounter on a tedious journey. Kindness is the one thing in life that is in infinite abundance and doesn't cost anything. I implore others to look at life as a limitless spending spree of kindness.


Writing Prompt
Write a poem, short piece of fiction, or an essay about your philosophy of life. No more than 1000 words.
This Is My Life!
Contest Winner

Recognized

Author Notes
Contest entry for: This is My Life!

Word count: 1000

Thanks to Alveria for her wonderful photo.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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