Editorial: Is Your Glass Half Full?
Several weeks ago a neighbor graciously purchased an anonymous ad entitled “23 Acts of Kindness.” We liked it. Sometimes a gentle reminder is needed. There seemed to be an undercurrent of agitation around town this past week. We cannot put our finger on the exact cause, but we have certainly noticed an increase in drivers’ honking and an impatience among shoppers.
Perhaps it’s the news? The national media have already whipped the presidential campaign into a cyclone of hyperbole. The constant barrage of negativity from the political reporters who seem to want to outdo one another makes CNBC’s Jim Cramer seem reserved and retiring. The news from Hartford is not much better. We have written previously about the dismal state of the Connecticut economy. It seems that others share our opinion. Quinnipiac University announced this week that Governor Malloy’s approval rating had dropped from 34 percent in October to 28 percent in their most recent poll.
There is little doubt that we are living in challenging times—but every generation lives in challenging times. Those who rise to challenges set themselves apart from the cynics and the defeatists. Often a Herculean effort is not required of us; what is required is a little kindness, a little niceness. Mark Twain once said: “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Recently we were stopped at a traffic light. Our windows were down as we enjoyed the warm spring weather. We watched a pedestrian cross against the light. There was no oncoming traffic; the person was in no danger. We watched as the light changed and a motorist rolled down their window and screamed an obscenity at the pedestrian. Everyone at the intersection heard it. We took the opportunity to explain to the children in the car that it was not appropriate behavior.
With summer nearly here, more and more of us are outside, often with our children. None of us want to expose our children, especially young children, to the kind of language used by the offended motorist. The first suggestion in “23 Acts of Kindness” is “Be nice.” The second is “Let someone into your lane. They’re probably in a rush, just like you.” Plato said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” You never know what is happening in another person’s life to cause either a distraction or an outburst. The person crossing the street might have been late to an appointment. The person yelling the obscenity might be facing a monumental challenge in their life at that moment. Be patient. They may not realize their action is having an effect on others.
One reason this past week was notable to us is because there are a lot of nice things happening this time of year in town. Social calendars are full of events supporting worthy causes. Annual galas happily compete with graduations and end of school year activities. Indeed, more than 600 people gathered for Arch Street’s 25th Anniversary. The Greenwich Town Party was a huge success. Ray Dalio and his team’s vision to hold an event that brings the town together is one we endorse wholeheartedly. And there are opportunities ahead to support the Ride to End ALS, Greenwich Hospital’s Under The Stars event, local church carnivals, the film festival and our own Sentinel Award being given to Police Chief Jim Heavey.
Over the past year, we have seen our community become a little less fractured. People care about one another a little bit more. People want to do the right thing, the nice thing. Winston Churchill once said: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” We like that. We are optimists.