For a moment, let’s forget about handing a penny to a homeless person, creating soup schemes for kids at your neighborhood homeless shelter, giving out free tablets to primary school learners or awarding bursaries for high school graduates, let us just go back to the basics.
Funding an international plumbing company to install water pipes in Africa means nothing if you do not know the basics of kindness, and the gift of giving love; because it is far valuable than Mustangs and diamonds.
It is now that I realize the importance of being kind, I have recently started working for a Walmart shop and the cashiers are treating us (me and the other new guys) like trash.
Back to the basics, it is really hypocritical to smile at your preacher at church if you fail to smile at the person you work with every day.
Not that I really need much from them, but I just feel it’s standard workplace behavior to be welcoming to new staff so they can adapt quickly, experience a healthy working environment, and not be afraid to talk to you when they need something.
Kindness isn’t only giving out money or free food, but it is also about having the best intentions at heart, smiling genuinely, reaching out to others first and offering your services without even thinking twice whenever they are needed.
How much does that cost?
It has gotten to the point where some of my new colleagues are adopting this attitude as well. Today I heard someone saying “if you give me sh*t attitude I’ll give you that sh*t attitude back”, and it just sounded destructive to me, only kindness inspires kindness. Fighting fire with fire ends up burning everyone, burning bridges compromises mobilization, and being kind to an unkind person shows that that you genuinely have the best intentions at heart, and you are willing to go to all ends for this interaction to be as healthy as possible, and that will not kill you either.
ME: Today I want to talk about materialism.
LUCY: Okay, what about it?
ME: I really do not have much, but as soon as my circumstances change, I really want to own skyscrapers for the heck of it, wear Tom Ford suits and smell of Gucci perfumes. And I often worry that it makes me a shallow person.
LUCY: Why would it?
ME: (looks down) Because the society perceives materialistic people to be.
LUCY: (looks up) The society looks down on people who let their materialistic possessions define them.
ME: (rolling eyes) But, what does that even mean?
LUCY: It means that a Gucci perfume remains just that, a Gucci perfume. It doesn’t make you any better anyhow than the person with a much cheaper one, if any at all. The thing about materials is, they serve a purpose, to make life easier or luxurious whatsoever, and as long as you acquire them for that use only, you’re still on the right track I guess, but the moment you use them to feel superior and more entitled to attention and respect than other people, then you’re getting derailed.
ME: (smiling) So there is nothing wrong with being materialistic then?
LUCY: Yes, only if you can afford that lifestyle. The problem is the price most people often pay for it, they often acquire it at the expense of other people, and that is not right.
ME: So rich people are evil?
LUCY: Being evil or not has nothing to do with your financial status, it’s in your heart. The thing about evilness is it is just an ill thought, whether exercised or otherwise.
ME: So, rich people do not have a responsibility towards the poor?
LUCY: They do, in the every same way the poor have the same responsibility towards each other, most importantly, towards themselves. Help another person in any and every way you can when you can, but always remember, their insolvency can only be truly averted by them and no one else, not even the “rich” (air quotations).
ME: Thank you so much Lucy (rubbing hands in excitement), but I feel like we’re drifting away from the topic now. So let me ask this once again, there is anything wrong with wanting to be rich?
LUCY: No, as much as there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be rich as well.
ME: So, it doesn’t make one shallow then?
LUCY: No it doesn’t, as much as being covered in rags would not make the next man any “deeper” than you, or me for that matter.
ME: So, loving materialistic possessions is okay then?
LUCY: (smiles) As long as you still love people more.
ME: Damn, okay, this is getting “deep” (imitates Lucy’s famous air quotations)……….. (thinks for a moment) So tell me, does it really mean…………………………………