Shuttlesworth Law Firm, LLC - February 2020

THE SHUTTLESWORTH SENTINEL

201 Vulcan Road, Suite 210 Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 322-1411 ShuttlesworthLasseter.com

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02 .2020

MAKING RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS MORE COMMON IN A CRAZY DIVIDED WORLD

We live in a time where outrage and division are in vogue. From the highest seats of government on down through the masses, people of all stripes are finding any reason they can to be hostile to one another. It seems like any view we can take is polarizing, and that reconciliation with our neighbors is out of the question. While we might not know what to do about it, I think most people would agree that’s no way to relate with other people. I’ve seen this division play out in my own life. Not too long ago, I ran into a guy I knew at a coffee shop who described a friend of his as being “on the other team,” but essentially a good guy. Now I don’t know what “team” he was describing, but it’s a crazy, divided world when we describe our friends first and foremost by how we’re different from them. What does that mean we say about the people we consider our enemies? While February may be viewed as a month of romantic love in light of Valentine’s Day, there’s another little-known holiday in February I think bears some extra importance in light of our current societal woes: Random Acts of Kindness Day. “ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WE ALL HAVE LIVES OUTSIDE THE INSTANCES IN WHICH WE ARGUE AND DISAGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD TREATING EVERYONE AROUND US WITH DIGNITY.” While you might think it’s cliché, I honestly think our world could benefit more from random acts of kindness. I’m a big fan of clever bumper stickers (even though I don’t have any on my car), and one of the best ones that I’ve seen around town has been one that says something along the lines of “Be kind, for everyone you see is engaged in a great struggle.” We might all have our differences, that much is true. However, we’re also

all have hardships and challenges that we’re going through that might cause us to react angrily to others. Acknowledging that we all have lives outside the instances in which we argue and disagree with one another is the first step toward treating

everyone around us with dignity. One way we can show that acknowledgment is through a random act of kindness.

A few months ago, I was reading a follow-up article on a suicide awareness event in the news. One of the people who was involved at some level in the suicide prevention program told a story that some of you might be familiar with. This particular suicide prevention program was working with a similar program in San Francisco at one point, and they talked about how someone had found a suicide note on the Golden Gate Bridge that said if they had seen one person smile on their way to the bridge that day, they wouldn’t have gone through with it. That is heartbreaking, and it is also a testament to the power of small kindnesses. They can change lives. Whatever you believe, or whatever faith you hold, nearly every person on Earth agrees with some variance of the mantra “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” So why don’t we do that more? If all it takes to change this world for the better is to contribute a little bit of kindness to the stream of life instead of just living for ourselves, why not commit a few random acts of kindness?

–Perry Shuttlesworth

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