I asked my six-year-old a pretty deep question today.
Zoë, is it more important to be clever, beautiful or kind?
Her wee eyes fluttered up to the sky and back again, which is what she always does when she’s deep in thought.
‘Yes honey. If you’re clever and beautiful, but you’re not kind, then you’ve missed the point.’
I was so proud of her in that moment. But I shouldn’t have been surprised – her teacher had praised her for this very quality in her last report:
‘Zoë is a kind and caring child who shows empathy to everyone in her class.’
Almost immediately, though, I felt the challenge of my own question as it began to reverberate around in my own heart.
‘If I had only one wish, what would I wish for? Would I want intelligence, beauty or to be kind? Would kindness really come first in that list?’
Some of us like knowledge a little too much. I’m guilty of this. I love to read, research, discover, absorb, explore and learn new things, no matter how useless the information. And sometimes I can get a little bit obsessive about certain topics.
But if what I know becomes more important than being kind to who I know, I’ve missed the point altogether.
Then, I guess some of us like looking good a little too much.
Whether it’s obsessing about our weight, keeping up with the neighbours or sharing that perfect family picture with the world, if what we look like on the outside becomes more important than how much we care about others on the inside, we’ve missed the point altogether.
So the next time we get feisty about something we’ve a strong opinion about, remember – whatever we think we know, it’s not worth saying if it isn’t said with kindness.
And the next time we’re tempted to care more about how we look to others than what our heart for others looks like, remember – whether you dress beautifully or you don’t – what matters most is to keep clothing yourself with kindness.
It’s nice to be clever
Everyone likes to look good (whether they admit it or not)
But it’s best to be kind.
I wonder, which of those three things will you wish for today?