I have vivid memories of my grandmother uttering these words. Many memories. As the oldest of us four sisters, I knew her expectations were for me to set an example. I did not always play this role well. Most of these utterances were due to the fact that Older Sister, the closest to me in age, and I did not get always get along. Fortunately, as Older Sister is now much more than sister - dear friend, confidant, and inspiration - we have moved passed that early bump in the relationship. Yet, grandma's request still lingers.
Another mantra I've adopted is that no one decides to be the villain. Sociopaths and the like aside, no one woke up this morning and decided to ruin your day. Just because a person plays the villain in your story doesn't mean that is their intention. Ever read a book, hated a character throughout, only to have their perspective revealed in the end making them the most beloved? I love those stories. Because they are real. Perspective is a powerful thing. One look through a different prism can bring a whole new light to a situation, paint people with different colors. The glasses needed to see these perspectives are made with kindness.
Being kind to each other is more powerful than the golden rule. We don't always treat ourselves the way we should be treated. We don't always realize how special we are as individuals. The power of someone being kinder to us than we could imagine is a catalyst for making the world a better place. Don't stop at treating each other they way we imagine being treated - be kind to each other. I am not always perfect in this area. But I always try and hear my grandmother's voice when I occasionally fail.
She was an extraordinary lady is so many ways. As I embark on this last week in the state of my childhood, I hold on to so much of her advice. Don't make a bad memory when you can make a good one. Make as many good memories as possible. Tell people you love them, no matter what the situation, because you don't know if it could be your last chance. Sometimes people hear more clearly when you whisper.
And the one that drives my daily actions, my compass for life - be kind to each other.