Simple human kindness; where someone looks at you and sees you. Where a person wants to know your story and pays attention in an effort to understand. We all hunger for it.

Our Junto (Together) group evaluated what we saw in our community; what were our strengths, our weaknesses and areas of hope for something better? We came to the realization that our community here in the Grand Valley has been known for its kindness and is still a very kind community in many ways. But, on the flip side of the coin, we also came to see one of our greatest weaknesses was isolation. Many in our community feel “alone in the crowd;” just a cog in the wheel that remains anonymous and unknown. Mix isolation with anxiety, fear and the anger that has been generated by over-heated political rhetoric and we have a volatile cocktail. Drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, division, depression and suicide are often the result.

Kindness is a key to building a healthier, better community. Kindness by definition is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate and is a powerful tool in restoring a sense of belonging to something greater that just yourself. We remember and feel connected to people who show us kindness, how it encouraged and even inspired us. Kindness draws us to be the best version of ourselves and empowers us to go for it! Kindness imparts hope and opens the door to healing old wounds. Genuine kindness can overcome all social barriers.

Take a moment and consider the power of kindness in your life. Who paid attention? Who cared enough to honestly encourage, comfort or teach you? Parents, family, friends, teachers, coaches and even friendly strangers may have made a great difference in who you came to be. What result came from their compassionate influence? And, if your life has been impacted by another’s caring intervention wouldn’t you like to have that same kind of influence in someone else’s life and be a remembered person?

Young or old, man, woman, boy or girl, no matter your skin color, no matter your faith, we are all able to get beyond ourselves and be considerate toward others. This is the beauty of kindness: We all need it and we can all give it. All it takes is a choice to do it.

The effect of your intentional kindness will amaze you. Not only will those you pay attention to be encouraged, but kindness expressed leaves a deposit of well-being in your life as well. Community, or common-unity will result; even among adversaries.

We can grow beyond our perceived limitations. The polarized, divisive condition of our society doesn’t have to stay that way. It’s up to us. Join us in the effort to make Mesa County the “Kindest County in Colorado!”

Captain Kindness is the superhero figurehead of the Mesa County Kindness Initiative reminding us we all have the superpower of kindness to share with others. Email captainkindnessco@gmail.com