Last year, the children at my local elementary school had made a large sign out of red plastic party cups, pushed through the chain link fence to form a simple message: BE KIND.
As valuable as that short message was in 2019, it is even more desperately needed in 2020. But when I walked past the schoolyard this week -- silent and empty of children -- I noticed the sign had changed. Lost its "D". I was saddened, and thought for a moment of grabbing some cups to repair the damage myself.
Then I read the sign again. It wasn't damaged; it was transformed. BE KIND had become BE KIN.
Kin. Family. Those to whom we are closest. Kin means we belong; we're related, interconnected. When my sister and I traveled to the Midwest to visit the small town where our father had grown up, we met cousins we never knew existed. Kin, they called us.
You might be able to judge or shake your fist at a stranger. But family? No, families care for one another. Share resources, history, and loyalty. I don't care how messed up yours is, there's something solid and permanent and reassuring about the idea of family.
Kindness is a beautiful thing. But kin? That's an even higher calling and challenge.
Today, let's be kin.