Monday, December 11, 2006

A Teaching Story - A Legacy to Pass On

In the Spirituality & Practice e-newsletter I received last week, a "teaching story" from Caroline Myss shows how a brief encounter can affect your life's legacy:

"Years ago I had a conversation with a man who told me that the most important truth he had learned was to be kind. He learned this, he recounted, during a cab ride in New York City. As he was paying the driver, he said, "Thank you, sir." At this, the driver leaped, ran around the back of the cab, and opened the door for his passenger. Startled, the man got out and said to the cab driver, "You didn't have to do that," to which the driver responded, "I wanted to. You are the first person in this country to honor me by calling me sir, and I thank you for that respect." The man had never before considered the power inherent in a respectful gesture, but from then on, kindness became the pillar on which he built his life and the legacy he hoped to pass on to his children. That exchange, he said, changed his life."

— Caroline Myss in Invisible Acts of Power: Personal Choices That Create Miracles

Kindness is one of the values I have practiced in my life which I would like to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I learned the importance of kindness the hard way as a child -- from a father and a few (mostly male) school teachers who were very unkind to me. Their gestures were not only disrespectful to me, they were downright mean and abusive. Even so, in a backhanded (literally!) way, these "negative" experiences taught me the value of kindness. Once I had forgiven those who were unkind to me, I could finally see how they had changed my life for the better -- teaching me how important it is to be kind to everyone I encounter in the world.

What life experiences have you had that changed you and the values you would like to pass on to future generations of your family?

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