One core belief that I hold true is attempting to return any action with kindness no matter what that action may be. Now I know this might sound a little naïve, but it’s based on one specific experience that happened to me. One topic I am sure you are all aware of, if any of you have been alive in the last century, is the subject of telemarketers. Like everyone else I grew up being annoyed with telemarketers and loved playing ridiculous pranks on them. For example when they would call I would yell to them that mother had just entered childbirth and then ask if they could help coach her through it. Of course, events like this these seem harmless in our youth; we are talking to cipher, a nonexistent person. It’s very easy to forget the humanity of co-inhabitants over the phone or internet.
Then one day I had a revelation. For my drama club I was forced to be part of a telethon and had to call a great list of parents in my high school. The experience was degrading, embarrassing, and most of all made me feel like a hypocrite for the hatred that I held toward the people who were calling my house and invading my privacy. So then I realized I would need to change my behavior to match them up to these new feelings I was having. Even though my household was on the ‘do not call’ list we would still inevitably get the calls and I would be there with my new philosophy to try and make a difference. I generally had no interest in what they were selling, but I was interested in how their day was going, so I would begin by asking them that. From there I would continue to tell them that I wasn’t interested in making a sale with them but I wished them the best of luck in their lives. And if I slightly peaked by what they were selling I would tell them that I didn’t make transactions over the phone but that I would be happy if they sent more information by mail and then I would be able to look into it more.
Sure none of them ever sent me anything by mail, but many times I could feel that because this person was shown more decency then they regularly receive that their spirits had been lifted. I’d like to think that no one would voluntarily choose the job of a telemarketer and that these are people who are ‘down and out on their luck’ and took this job as their last resort. And because of that they could use some kindness and respect during these self-esteem killing job shifts. I’d like to think that I helped their day along with my words. When I was working during the telethon I felt horrible as person after person would simply hang up on me. While I understand that these calls are a nuisance and invasion of our privacy, think about how equally tough it must be to be the person on the other end. Any kind word or supportive dialogue can be helpful to them. So whenever you are in a situation where it’s easy to be rude to someone without getting in trouble with them, just think about the life you are affecting and how you could use so little to potentially improve their day. Starting from this one experience I learned how rewarding kindness could be for every party involved, and why I believe in it as strong resource for whatever situation you find yourself in.
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