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The Importance of Kindness

by Ranjini Nair
(Toronto, ON, Canada)

There€™s a question we never tire asking of kids,
€œWhen you grow up, what do you want to be?€
We listen to them with patience,
As they ramble on with glee:
Astronaut€™s high up on their list,
Doctor, lawyer and I€™ve even heard €œEgyptologist€!

We€™re amazed by their creativity,
Amused by the lack of self-doubt,
We enable and encourage them to be dreamers.
(I€™ve been on both ends of that stick -
I€™ve played both child and enabler!)

And here I am, at the brink of responsible adulthood,
Wondering which me I should end up becoming
That€™s when I realize what I wasn€™t told explicitly as a child
I realize what I want to be foremost.

I want to be kind,
I want to be patient,
I want to be the type of person
Who€™s nameless and faceless
But about whom a pregnant stranger goes home and says,
€œthe nicest girl gave up her seat for me on the bus today!€

I want to relay this message to those around me
The meaning of being nice
The difference it makes to people
In their hurried and busy lives.
So take time out in your own way,
To make a random person feel like there€™s more to today.

Whatever I €œgrow up€ to do eventually,
I hope the version of me I end up becoming,
Is someone kind and patient
Albeit, nameless and faceless.
And that today, through this poem,
If I could reach out to at least some of you
To instill the importance of kindness.

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