Christopher Speed, a dietitian in the public relations/marketing industry, is husband to Liz and father to a son Declan, 2, and a daughter, Maeve, now four months of age. Originally from Sydney, Australia, he moved to the U.S. 11 years ago and now resides in Midwood, Brooklyn where he enjoys the vast array of food that results from living among incredible cultural diversity. In his spare time, he plays the classical guitar, cooks and appreciates great beer and wine.
Each year I have set myself a personal goal of being kind, and with parenthood this undertaking has become more meaningful to me. I think this personal quest started long ago. My father told me when I was a child that the reason he was kind to me had nothing to do with his wanting me to be kind to him in return. Rather, he wanted me to appreciate how good it felt to receive kindness from my own father so that someday, as a father myself, I would in turn be kind to my own children.
Now that I am nearly 40, with a wonderful growing family and incredible wife, you have helped me appreciate what your grandfather meant. Kindness is one of the most important traits someone possesses that needs to be instilled in us and you’ve shown me that it can start at a young age.
You recently fetched a pacifier for your sister. You politely stepped aside at the playground so that someone could use the slide. And although I had to remind you to share your ball, you did so with great conviction and joy. You are inherently kind. And as you will soon realize, the world needs as much kindness as it can get. With so much political, social and financial unrest, kindness seems to have taken a back seat.
You’re still too young to recognize the significance of being considerate toward others. Still, you make me happy and proud each time you show me glimpses that you understand its value.It gives me the peace of mind that as a new parent I am guiding you on the right path. You understand that you never need a reason to be kind — except that it’s simply the right way to treat others.
All through life, you will get frustrated and disappointed. But you should always know that the kindness in your heart is important, and that it comes from a seed your grandfather sowed in me.
P.S. – Please see guest column from Scott Nathanson tomorrow.