Santa, help create an era of kindness

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Naughty. Nice. Naughty. Nice. Whoa, Santa! This is the era of kindness and niceness — “kindniceness.” Please stop this categorizing! Anyway, how do you actually know who’s naughty or nice? And even if you have a camera on every kid you can’t know the story behind the actions. By jingo, Mr. Kringle, we’re into unity now.

A lot of folks are trying this out and, although the idea is great, yes, it can be harder than it looks. The temptation is grabbing a candy cane, after vowing to be nice to your diet, and so is the urge to say you hate thin people. There, you’ve categorized! So easy.

And if we people of the planet are all nearly genetically similar, as science says, why isn’t it simple to love `em all and feel unity? “Uh, well, they don’t look, act, speak like us.” And why would that be? “Hmm, we don’t really know them and their background very well.” And why is that? “We never really bothered to ask.” We’re quite like our animals, too, and if they’re ignored or disregarded we do something about it. Hhmmm again.

What if all of us in the world had a big “Pic-nic(e),” sharing tuna sandwiches, fish tacos, sushi and naan, salmon and ramen? There’d be plenty — and extras. As we were getting to know you, accompanied by sitar, samisen, lute, banjo, harp and harmonium, we could engage in civil discourse. Ever heard of that? It’s a form of communication without screeching about our presumed differences, but finding out with interest about our similarities as well. Wow — what a concept!

Oversimplified? How about the advice we had as kids to solve our social unity problems—first-graders hollering “Kindergarten Bay-Bee” at the innocents, ignore them. In name-calling, simply retort, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!” If you’ve had bones set lately, change that to “break my budget.” Still, in these unkind times, adages lose out.

Heard about that Samaritan? He helped a fallen fellow from an enemy camp and felt good about it. Mr. Rogers enjoys popularity for niceness. Join his neighborhood — or improve yours — listening, learning, setting a good example.

So, Dear Santa, Nice. Nice. Nice. Accentuate the positive, delete the naughtiness. Fill your sleigh with all kinds of kindness. Kids of all ages, they say, would like to be nice. Try it — you’ll like it.

P.S. Santa (and everyone) be kind to the planet! Congratulations for alternative transportation! Sleighs are clean and quiet. Are you getting all the power you need from those eight tiny reindeers’ methane production? Watch your landings on solar roofs! Recycle your gifts! Kindly sustainable wishes! As my late Uncle Bobby Burns intoned, take a cup o’ kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne!

Diana Helper and her husband have lived in Denver for 63 years. She works on projects with the city, University of Denver, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation and Open Space and Parks and Recreation.

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