Remember when you were young and playing with friends and a situation came up where there was tension and fear? Maybe you were double-daring one another to do something. Typically, someone said, “You go first!” Going first takes courage.
When people choose to go first, it inspires others who wish they’d had the courage to go first, too. Courage, like all emotions, is contagious.
If there was ever a time when the world needed more courage, it’s now. Let’s look at our first example.
ELLEN & GWB
What’s wrong with this picture?
No slouch when it comes to courage, Ellen went first years ago when she came out as gay. She also went first at last Sunday’s football game, choosing to socialize with people who don’t necessarily think exactly like she does. I bet you ten bucks there are people howling about how Ellen has betrayed the world without realizing what a pioneer Ellen is. They didn’t know her before she was gay. Some of us did. Now, she’s suffered the wrath of those who don’t agree with her being friends with President Bush. Several of her Hollywood friends, who initially supported her, then pulled their tweets. They’re not quite ready to be first. Ellen is. Here’s an article about it. It’s a good read. It speaks to the death of “uncritical niceness.”
I was driving and heard a news commentator mention something she’d seen on TV. I dug up video of it so I could see for myself.
In a nutshell, Neil Cavuto, a business analyst on Fox News, shared that people from Fox News and competing networks are “good people.” He praises anchors from CNN & MSNBC (and the earth didn’t even stop spinning!) The video is short and contained in this USA Today article. Scroll down to watch it or read about it.
Neil spoke the truth. Most of us ARE good people.
I found another article – I was unaware that Neil Cavuto lives with Multiple Sclerosis, survived Stage 4 cancer and endured triple-bypass surgery. He knows that life is too short to allow shallow wedges to strike deep divides between good people.
Not convinced? Too many politics? Too many bad people on “the other side?”
Okay. Well, let’s look at one more example.
WHEN LIGHTENING STRIKES
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Did you see the video of the guy who got struck by lightening and was knocked right out of his shoes? Watch this.
Utter strangers raced to help him. They performed CPR. The police got his dogs back. Everybody rallied to save this poor soul. Those good Samaritans acted as human beings – they knew they could help and they did.
Here’s what they didn’t know about the man they saved. They didn’t know what God he believes in. They didn’t know who he loves. They didn’t know who he voted for. And most importantly, they didn’t care.
When the man woke up as he was being airlifted to the hospital, he didn’t say to the helicopter pilot, “Please tell me you voted for Hillary!” He didn’t say, “Are you gay?” He didn’t say, “I hope you’re a (Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, WHATEVER.)”
He didn’t care.
Because when it matters most, these things matter least.
Of course, by the time you read this, the world will have turned upside down 50 times, or you might have insulted China (actually, that sounds like something I would do), and Chicken Little will have screeched loud enough for us all to be offended and we can return to business as usual. Or…
WE CAN GO FIRST.
We can make and keep a promise. The promise goes something like this.
I won’t care about the color of your skin, who you voted for, what you do for a living, who you love, where you live, or what God you believe in – if you will offer the same promise to me and everyone you meet.
Together, we can offer that beautiful gift of simple kindness to the entire world! We can offer it to those we hold the door for, serve us coffee, sell us stamps, sit next to us at work, give us a flu shot, or teach our kids.
We don’t even have to PREACH it. We simply have BE it.
None of us lives forever. Let’s be “uncritically nice” while we are here. We. Can. Go. First.