Bumper stickers. Now that’s free speech. Which I love. But that doesn’t mean I love all bumper stickers. Sure, some are cute, funny, occasionally brilliant. Others are just crude.
But my least favorite bumper sticker might surprise you. The bumper strip that ticks me off the most reads:
“Practice Random Acts Of Kindness And Senseless Acts Of Beauty.”
Now, most folks who put this one on their car are nice. They’re thinking about “kindness” and “beauty” — so, I’m certainly not gonna say anything if I see them at the market.
But . . . why waste kindness by doing it randomly? The random implies heedlessness, thoughtlessness. How much better to be provident in kindness, thinking ahead and in context.
Should the purse-snatcher really benefit as much or more from our kindness as the little girl in the neighborhood who is always helping us with our groceries?
Should our lazy, good-for-nothing brother-in-law get what time we have for kindness or should it go to someone who will take our kindness and turn it around into even more kindness?
Now, I’m not suggesting anyone be unkind to anyone. But precisely because practicing kindness is so important — it’s the glue that holds a friendly society together — it is worth taking the time to recognize and reward good behavior. Rather than bad. Or just sticking the dial on “random.”
And how can beauty ever be senseless?
How about a new bumper sticker: “Practice Thoughtful Acts of Kindness and Sensible Acts of Beauty”?
Happy New Year!
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
This installment of Common Sense first aired in November 2006.