I just came across this phrase in a book I have been reading:
Treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.
Words by Og Mandino, the author said. I am guilty of not knowing who he was, but the quote resonated with me deeply.
With all the chaos in life, it is difficult to find people who are genuine, and genuinely caring. Everyone seems to have their own agenda and out for their own selfish needs.
Most of the time, I live by an ideal similar to Mr. Mandino’s quote. I want to care for and help others as much as I can without asking for a reward. Yes, I succumb to greed and selfishness too, but I try to consciously ignore or work around them. People have called me naive or gullible, but at least I can sleep through the night (if the baby lets me). Many of my friends are far better persons than I am, because I know I have plenty of faults, but I continue to work on myself — to benefit everyone around me.
It is now even more important for me to “do good”, so to speak, as there is a little human being looking up to me. I need to set the right example for him.
I want to teach him to be caring, empathetic and selfless. To be humble and grateful for everything that comes his way. To appreciate and show appreciation to those around him.
Always the devils advocate, my mind also puts this to the forefront of my consciousness — being “good” may equal being “weak” or a pushover in the real world. Although I know this is not necessarily true, I know that I need to show it to him, either by action or examples of genuine, good people who have become successful.
Perhaps I can use a modified version of Mr. Mandino’s quote as teaching material. He is only one, but it is never too early to start.
Tell me: Do you consider yourself a “good” person? Do you act without anticipating any reward?