of the most impressive things that I witness is when people
who have nothing to gain from a situation do their best to
include people who are more or less on the
"fringes"--people who may be extremely shy or who
may not have such great social skills. On one of our
trips to Spain we had two students one year who were great
at this--they did their best to include everyone in anything
that the group did as a whole. They weren't at all
exclusionary, and they never made the people they were
asking to go along feel as if they were being done a
favor. They simply and sincerely invited them along to
do whatever the group was doing. It was great to
just one of the things that Sydney's talking about here, but
how important it is! Their acts of kindness and caring
made the entire six-week trip much more enjoyable for
several students who might otherwise have felt
excluded. And I've been on other trips during which
the students did their best to exclude anyone who they
didn't like, and it was awful to watch.
acts may be difficult, but what a great difference they may
make in our lives and in the lives of others.
Returning hate for hate is easy, and it tends to perpetuate
the hate. Returning love for hate can start the
process of stopping the hate in its tracks, even if it
doesn't stop it immediately.
"I was wrong" is way up there with saying
"I'm sorry." It acknowledges the fact that
we're not perfect, and that we do make mistakes. It
acknowledges our humanity while demonstrating our
willingness to entertain the notion that we don't always
have to be right. Not having to be right all the time
takes a great deal of pressure off of us, too, and makes
life much easier to deal with.
course, none of these things should be done with a
condescending or arrogant attitude, or they're no longer
effective or sincere. Sincerity is the key here, along
with not trying to be recognized for our acts. If we
can do these things sincerely and modestly, then our lives
will be much easier, and we'll be contributing actively to
the common good.