Last night, like much of America, I watched the Presidential debate. I was so angry halfway through that I had to leave the screen to take deep breaths and make a cup of tea. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, at the end of hours of angry conversing a man stood up and asked, “Can you name one positive thing you respect in one another?” And America laughed with relief.
I wish every dispute could end like this. It may feel childish or sound naive, but I wish that we could all remember that at the end of the day, we’re all human and the point is actually to care for each other. There is a line of thought that kindness is weak and that you’ll be taken advantage of for being kind. Don’t believe this. The strongest people are those who are courageous enough to be kind—especially when it’s hard.
I don’t imagine history will remember last night’s debate in a positive light, but I will. Because it reminded me of the power of a few positive words. Those final words by both candidates changed the entire experience for me. And—even more importantly—made me remember that I can change someone’s entire experience with words of my own.