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Kindness needs to come from us

In this country, in far better times than these, our moral values were transmitted from the top down. Now, we must look to local, communityinspired sources of how it is we should treat one another.

There was a time when our nation looked to its highest officers for symbols of respect, now we endure Tweetstorms of mockery, meanness, namecalling, immorality, and whining. We have political parties that routinely break the unwritten (and sometimes even the written) rules of decency in order to one-up each other on everything from critical matters such as health care to immigration, without even blinking. If George Washington really was as decent and honest a man as legend makes him to be, he’d be mighty ashamed of into what his country has devolved.

But, all is not lost, because at their most basic level, common people want to be kind to each other, they want norms of behavior to follow, they want to raise their children properly. Perhaps they can no longer look to our so-called “leaders” to set an example, but they can instill proper values in the coming generations in their own homes and schools.

We saw powerful examples of this over the past few weeks, at local school holiday programs. There, the children sang happy and hopeful songs, they wore their best outfits and looked for their Moms and Dads in the crowded auditoriums. For them, it’s just Christmas, not the lull between nasty impeachment hearings, or the early stages of a presidential election that promises to be as ugly and vile as any before it.

Spencer has a tradition of teaching its youngsters to treat each other well as they all strive to be the best they can be. “The Rocket Way,” they call it, and the uplifting intent is never more evident than on the Tack Center stage as the littlest ones perform their songs.

This year, the 4-year-old kindergarten class stood upon the risers, their first time in front of so many people, and they wrapped their arms around each others’ shoulders as they crooned the words to “A Candle for Remembering.” In selecting this song, their teachers chose to fill an auditorium not with the vitriol we hear from on high, but with thoughts of kindness and caring for other people.

No words we can use here will convince anyone in power in this country to change the angry course they’ve chosen to walk, but we can and should take note that here at home, where we live, examples of kindness are many. From the efforts made locally to stock food pantry shelves for those who need a little help, to the holiday events staged by civic organizations so the kids can visit Santa or the adults can reminisce, and to those heartfelt holiday school programs recorded on so many smartphones, we see them every day, and especially this time of year.

It is there where you should look for your inspiration to be nicer, to those who mean it sincerely, and not to those who power their own egos by breaking down everyone and everything around them.

Members of the TRG editorial Board include Publisher Kris O’Leary, Editor Dean Lesar, and Carol O’Leary.