Kind thoughts are rarer than either kind words or deeds. They imply a great deal of thinking about others. This in itself is rare. But they also imply a great deal of thinking about others without the thoughts being criticisms. This is rarer still. ~ Frederick William Faber
How many times have you seen a video played in reverse on TV? Up from the lake shoots the bicycle and rider, back past the sign: Bridge Out, to the starting point where the cyclist hops on before racing down the road.
These videos are played in reverse, highlighting with humor, the moment things went terribly wrong. The overly confident cyclist races off too quickly, fails to note the sign and sails over the brink.
I love what Frederick Faber says. Kind thoughts are rarer than either kind words or deeds in part because to have them we have to do a great deal of thinking about others, which, as he says, is rare enough. The second is rarer still: we also have to do a great deal of thinking about others without the thoughts being criticisms.
If I go over the brink and am in some way unkind, it isn’t difficult to rewind the scenario and see that the root of the problem isn’t in failing to see the signs or even in racing off too confidently. The root is always whether or not my regular day in and day out thoughts toward others are generally kind or critical in nature.
I notice it when I’m reading a book or watching TV and I’m surprised at the intensity of my dislike for a character. When this carries over from fiction to the news: crime, politics, religion and find myself lacking kindness and grace, I know it’s time to get off the bike.
When I’m all wet, it’s a lot like the saying that used to be stuck on the VHS tapes we rented from a movie store: Be Kind, Please Rewind. It’s cause and effect: thinking of others more often with kinder thoughts, leads to kinder words in general, which lead to kinder deeds in practice.