A mentor of sorts told me the story of his relationship with his brother. They were close in age and fierce rivals while growing up. They competed at everything. They were not violent, but argued every point. Neither gave ground to the other in making their cases.
It continued throughout their childhoods until my mentor left for college. After that, he returned to his family home only for holidays and vacations.
Of course, the desired conclusion is that he and his brother missed each other desperately, called regularly, and realized they were best friends.
Early in his career, my mentor had a conflict with a colleague. The colleague was a valued member of their team, but had an abrasive personality. My mentor was reserved, cordial and principled. In this particular dispute, he had the support of his team and the security of being right.
As he prepared to confront his colleague, a more experienced co-worker quizzed him about his intentions and objectives. My mentor described his argument, explained why it was correct, and provided independent support for his position.
“Yes,” his co-worker said, “but what do you expect to accomplish?” When my mentor was unable to provide any substantive goal, his co-worker offered a piece of advice: “sometimes being kind beats being right.”
My mentor thought of his brother immediately. They had not stayed in close touch. In fact, they rarely talked and almost never saw each other. Neither despised or wished ill upon the other. They just put little effort into the relationship.
He wondered whether more kindness and less righteousness would have changed that.
In the coming days, our votes will determine the next President of the United States and many other important offices. If we were to venture from our bubbles, we would learn that not everyone agrees with our views.
Still, we should all vote our consciences.
But, when it comes to our discussions, sometimes it’s better to be kind than right.
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Call if you need us, or if you just want to say hello.
P.S. If you are having trouble interpreting your conscience, I am happy to suggest a list of candidates. With a very kind heart, of course.