A few weeks ago, I posed a question about the difference between helping others because it’s the “right thing to do” or because you want to do an act of kindness. I’ve already published some answers in this column, but I received one more letter in the mail that I couldn’t let go before sharing with you. It’s from Jean Lemmon in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
” ‘Where does citizenship end and kindness begin?’ The two actions derive their source from two different areas, the head and the heart.
When we were children, our parents taught us a set of rules.They ingrained into our young minds a sense of right and wrong. Hopefully, they demonstrated those rules by their own actions.
But we all reach adulthood and begin making our own choices based on what foundation was given to us. We keep some past rules and others we toss by the wayside.
In reaching that age of ‘accountability,’ we start thinking for ourselves. We often realize there is something far deeper than us that rules the ‘soul’ of our lives. When we make contact with the creator of our soul, the heart decision-maker kicks in.
The citizenship decision-maker acts on messages he was told were good deeds. The heart decision-maker is motivated by love from the creator, not parental love or a society role model.
Remember the story of Pinocchio, the little wooden boy whom Geppetto loved so very much? His nose kept growing longer and longer for every lie he told. When he was sitting in the belly of the whale, he had a transformation. Our little wooden boy became real because of his creator’s love.
Good citizenship derives its source from good role models. Kindness derives its source from the soul maker.”
I think Jean does an excellent job of pointing out the difference between citizenship and kindness. Between the lines, I also see her providing inspiration to those weary of doing good. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, Am I doing this because society tells me I have to or because I feel so loved that I just have to pour it out onto others?
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole lives in Athens, Ohio with her husband, Saul, who is the men’s head basketball coach at Ohio University. Her column runs every Friday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.