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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Contagion

Both being a parent, and working with children has been full of surprises: the good, the bad, and the unusual. I’ve done things I never thought I would do, like blowing hundreds of balloons up to make a homemade balloon drop for an at home birthday party, or driving a great distance to pick up a misplaced stuffed animal. I’ve also said things I never thought I would, like you can’t keep the frog in your room.


One of the best examples I know of was when Paul and I were working with some little kids, and one of them sidled up and stood next to Paul as he was explaining the rules to the group. Gradually, the little boy reached up and held Paul‘s hand. Kind of sweet. All of a sudden, the little boy licked Paul’s hand from fingers to wrist.


Totally grossed out, Paul quickly pulled his hand away and said, “Don’t lick me.“ I looked over and muttered, “Sentences you never thought you’d have to say.“


It is one of my favorite things: you’re in the middle of doing something or talking to someone and you suddenly realize that you have uttered a sentence that in 1 million years you never thought you would need to say out loud.


A few weeks ago I was making a phone call and was on hold, waiting to make a doctor's appointment. Do you know the kind of “hold“ I’m talking about where they constantly tell you how important your call is to them as you continue to wait and wait?


Embedded in the numerous confirmations that someone would, indeed be with me shortly, the message came across, “Kindness is contagious. A little goes a long way.”


I was torn between what a nice sentiment, and worried that it was an omen of a really long wait time. But then a couple of weeks later, I was checking in for the appointment and along with all of the notices regarding insurance and payment protocols was a sign, saying that any abuse, physical, or verbal, to their employees would not be tolerated. Seriously? They actually had to put a sign up saying you are not allowed to hit or yell at the doctors and nurses? Talk about a sentence you never thought you’d have to say. All of this leads me to that age old question: what is wrong with people? Have we become so entitled and egocentric that not only do the rules not apply to us, but we can’t even pretend to be nice?


I’m not sure what’s going on in our country today that people consider it acceptable to be obnoxious simply because they didn’t get their way. Is this one of the signs of long haul covid? The original words of the Hippocratic Oath bind doctors to Do No Harm much the same way John Wesley articulated it in his 3 Rules. Wesley went farther and said, “Do Good.” Very simple rules. Very easy to understand. Not so easy to implement. But maybe, just maybe, kindness really is contagious and pretty soon everyone will be infected!









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