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I pick “kind”… will you?

I work in Pickaway County, Ohio and the selection for our “One Book, One Community” campaign this year is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I’ve seen the movie twice and now I am enjoying the book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. This book is a touching read that highlights how people respond to and interact with others who are different from them. It may just open your eyes to what others experience in life.

Why are wonder, kindness and compassion the topics of this blog? We interface with many people every day. How we interact with others not only affects our lives and happiness but it affects others. I encourage you to look at the way you respond to people and situations and to react with kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at some definitions of the word “wonder” when it is used as a noun:

  1. From the English Oxford dictionary: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  2. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary a cause of astonishment or admiration.
  3. From the Cambridge dictionary: a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings.

These dictionaries define “wonder” as a positive way to view things we might see or experience in life. In the book and movie Wonder, many people viewed the character Auggie as someone very different from them. His face looked different and he was not used to interacting with kids. He faced these challenges with heart.

I encourage you to look with wonder at people and places and to share kindness with those you meet. If someone is different from you – or unfamiliar to you- embrace the interaction with fresh eyes and be open to their friendship. A simple smile goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Take a moment, pause and treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you have seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you know that this classic film highlights the life of a character named George Bailey. Throughout the movie, George is encouraged to look at the positives in his life and explore how his life touches others in his “everyday” actions. Clarence, another character in the movie, shares this thought: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Movie Marquee - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

Many people watch this movie around the holidays, but I think it is a great movie to watch anytime. It provides a gentle reminder to embrace life and look for positives, even when we are experiencing challenges.

As you pass through your life, will you pick kindness, compassion and wonder? These virtues will enrich your life. If you need tips or strategies to grow compassion, check out the article Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Additionally, the Integrative Medicine department of the OSU Wexner Medical Center offers free heart-centered mindfulness recordings to help foster kindness, compassion and gratitude. These resources, exercises and strategies may help you become a more compassionate person.

If you have a story to share, leave a comment or email me at treber.1@osu.edu.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Jazaieri, H. (2018). Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_compassionate_people

OSU Wexner Medical Center, Department of Integrative Medicine. Heart-Centered Practices. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/integrative-complementary-medicine/heart-centered-practices

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. https://wonderthebook.com/books/wonder

 

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