At BYU-Idaho, values are important and kindness seems to be a widespread characteristic.
In this supposedly perfect environment, we imagine people get along, roommates don’t fight, people don’t steal and people are probably perfect.
I think we all know this is not the case. People aren’t perfect, even though they have been taught to follow Christ. The reality is that we all make mistakes, and we don’t get along with everyone, but kindness is still an important element we can all work towards.
Everyone has mastered the perfect ministering approach — we know how to make cookies and how to reach out on Sundays — but do we really know how to be genuine when it comes to kindness?
During the investigation, it was reported that Cedeno was bullied by two fellow classmates for years. He had finally reached his limit.
Details have been released in news articles, but ultimately he pulled a knife and stabbed both classmates, resulting in the death of one and the hospitalization of the other. It represents one of the cruel examples of unkindness we see throughout the news.
One person ended up dead, another physically harmed and all parties involved retain deep emotional scars.
In our society we look at these major events, we learn about them and we react, but we never think of comparing them to the everyday challenges that we have.
In the pain of our own personal problems, the knife that we point at someone might not be a physical one, but the words we use and the actions we take can be just as harmful.
Each of us suffers from the pain of being overlooked, ignored and underappreciated, even if we feel like we are surrounded by people who care about us.
The knives that we use can include gossip, bullying and teasing. One of the things that we might not think about is ignorance.
Many of us pass by others on a regular basis, and we spend time in the same classes, but the truth is we are completely ignorant of the feelings of those around us.
I was walking through the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center on a rather hard day. I was feeling the pressures of homework, social commitments and stress that comes from balancing those things along with a church calling.
At the time, I was feeling rather unloved. I felt like I was trying my best to love and serve others, but I wasn’t getting much in return.
Part of my schedule for the day included talking to fellow students at one of the booths on campus. With the mood I was in, I was expecting the whole experience to be miserable.
I served my time there and was finally packing up my stuff to go. As I was about to walk away, a girl walked by and handed me a flower.
It was a short interaction, and I can’t remember if anything was said, but that moment changed my whole day.
I realized that she lifted my day with her kindness. In my own emotional state, I had forgotten to think about others that I could have lifted around me.
That day, I was the selfish one. The realization came to me that maybe my own personal feelings had kept me from seeing just how much other people around me feel and experience pain.
There is no answer to making everyone be kind and completely removing all behaviors that can harm others.
However, I do believe it can and does start with each of us. We lower our knives when we think of others before ourselves, and when we care and listen to others even when we don’t understand them.
Kindness needs to be genuine, but it also has a starting point. It starts with a smile, and it comes with acknowledging that there are other people outside of ourselves.
Can we all choose to set down our knives?