Let Us Graduate In Kindness!

The DiscipleMD

A number of years ago my wife and I attended the college graduation of our daughter. As always there are lessons to be learned in everyday life and the graduation ceremony was no different. Before the diplomas were handed out the Dean of the school asked politely if we would hold our applause until all the graduates were announced; this so that all would be able to hear each name across the loud speaker system. This seemed reasonable to me as each graduate deserved to hear their name spoken after such an accomplishment. Then he said, “After all have been announced we can raise the roof with applause!” There seemed to be polite approval from the audience and students. However, no more than a few names had been read before people started yelling out or hooting when a certain graduate’s name was announced. This display of yelling out continued throughout the ceremony. Not often, but often enough that it was noticeable. While I’m sure that the cheering parents, friends or relative of the graduate thought it was a wonderful tribute to “their” loved one, it was rude to the next graduate in line. I’m sure those who cheered would not have been happy if their loved ones named had been drowned out by the prior announced graduates family.

I also noted that a few graduates had their children in arms as they came across the stage. One student’s name was announced with the byline “and his children” while receiving his diploma. I heard a few “Ahh’s” from the crowd but I didn’t know diploma’s were awarded to infants. I’m sure the few students that did this thought it was a wonderful experience for “their” children. But I’m also sure that half of the class had children. I don’t know how wonderful the ceramonial experience would have been if every parent had brought their small children traipsing across the stage. These observations might seem petty to some but I’ve noted over the years that “small” things can make “big” statements about who we are. Thoughtfulness and kindness to others is something that the Savior taught often and powerfully.

Elder Joseph Wirthlin remarked: “Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes… Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Liahona, May 2005).

May we all remember that our daily acts of courteousness and kindness go a long way in making a society of civility and one where the spirit of Christ abides.


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