Apparently, I’ve reached the age of wearing clothes with words on them being my thing. I’m not sure how this snuck up on me. 

We have cool logo wear here and we all enjoy wearing T-shirts or sweatshirts with various Friendship Haven phrases on them. This has spilled over into my wardrobe in general. Specifically, anything to do with “be kind.”

I’m not sure what the attraction is other than a visible message of something that, many days, I feel we’ve lost. A reminder to myself and others that kind really is the only way to go. On days when that feels tested, a T-shirt or sweatshirt feels like a necessary, comfy reminder. Cheesy? Maybe. 

I’ve gotten too old to worry about being cheesy. In fact, I fully embrace my cheesiness.  Last month, I spoke about compassion in leadership. This month my message is even simpler. Be kind

In the moments where anger, frustration, jealousy, confusion and/or bitterness tend to sneak their way in, choose kindness. Give people the benefit of the doubt and practice empathy. 

There is kindness in being direct. I certainly understand there is a chance that might be confusing, so I’d like to offer a different perspective. Not beating around the bush and getting to the point can be an act of kindness. Going directly to a teammate with an issue you might have rather than talking behind their back is also kind.

Talking about someone and not to someone, especially at work, can create unnecessary drama. The only person you can control in that scenario is you. Nothing earth-shattering here. It goes back to treating people how we like to be treated. Pretty basic stuff, right? Yet, every day we see and hear examples of people who are cruel, self-serving and/or feel compelled to be part of the drama.     

Mind your business and be kind. We often judge people by how they live, cope or act when we have maybe one-fourth of the true understanding of what makes them tick. How can we stand in judgment? Just be kind. 

If it takes a T-shirt, sweatshirt, cheesy knickknack or a quick blog to remind you to put a smile on and be kind despite the struggle you may be going through, make it happen. 

We don’t have time to waste being part of the problem.  

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Julie Thorson was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award. She currently co-facilitates LeadingAge Iowa’s Leadership Academy. She is a LeadingAge Academy fellow and former coach. The Head Coach (president and CEO) of Friendship Haven, a life plan community in Fort Dodge, IA, Thorson is a coach’s daughter at heart. A former part-time nursing home social worker, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and completed LeadingAge’s Leadership Educator Program in 2019.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.