It’s important that kids learn the impact of their words and actions — and not just to create a better school environment, but to cultivate caring adults for generations to come.

She glared down her nose at me while I rambled under her glare. I forgot my wallet (again) in the car and was trying to apologize for leaving the line — but I am pretty sure she thought I was an idiot.

And the dumber I felt — the dumber I got.

Perhaps I just rise to people’s expectations of me, because if someone makes me feel like an idiot, I almost always become one. Then again, if made to feel like I can conquer the world, well I start to think maybe I can too.

But today — I just couldn’t help but want to crawl under something and hide. Perhaps it’s pride, but I hate looking like a fool. I kind of wanted to give her a dirty look and walk away.

And I kind of did.

Then I felt bad, because I started thinking about what we are teaching the kids at school. Lining the wall like wallpaper are these words:

“Kindness is free. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere.”

We are focusing on kindness at school. It’s important that kids learn the impact of their words and actions — and not just to create a better school environment, but to cultivate caring adults for generations to come.

And the Facebook comment section is proof positive that we need a change. People aren’t just freaking out over hot topics like Trump’s vocabulary words, they are coming to blows over crockpot spaghetti recipes.

I mean people were losing their mind over slow cooked pasta, and grandmas rolling over in their graves. I am pretty sure I saw a death threat in there.

Just the other day, on an Italian Beef recipe, I discovered a middle finger emoji paired with four letter words not usually associated with beef, because the spiced beef wasn’t authentically Italian. Clearly an Italian beef expert, the commenter had a picture of a clown holding a red balloon, with the words Pennywise for President splashed across it.

And to top it all off, the recipe in question was posted on a page titled, “Southern Recipes from the Deep South.”

That last part even left me scratching my head, but I still had no desire to bust all-CAPS and cyber scream at anyone. In fact, we enjoyed the deep-south, Italian, beef recipe. Although perhaps ethnically confused, it was still delicious.

My grandma was an awesome cook, but she served up Americana grease, so the variety of cheeseburgers and various methods of grilled cheese don’t trigger me. Her signature dish was a whipped cherry cheesecake, and I don’t mind if someone posts a lesser version of it on Facebook.

Even if I did, I just move along, I think.

Sometimes we get annoyed, mad, or frustrated, and even in the real world — where we walk the halls of life — we endure people who push our buttons.  And we are better off for it, too.

In the midst of my anger to the woman who made me feel like an idiot — and while I shot those dirty looks off in her direction, I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing.

I was doing the easy thing.

It felt good.  As delicious as authentic Italian beef, I savored every ounce of anger I felt toward her before realizing it left a bitter taste. Anger and revenge only taste sweet at first. Constantly being mad over anything, including internet recipes hurts you more than anyone else.

Even so, it’s easier just to stay mad, and to keep giving those dirty looks. No one wants to feel weak. That’s the problem, though, we mistake humility for weakness.

To be humble enough to scroll by something that offends you, or extend an olive branch to someone who’s been rude to you, takes mental and emotional strength. 

That’s why kindness is so dang hard.

Kindness.

It might be free — but it’s not always easy.  Being nice to people sometimes feels like the respiratory flu, you hacking it up from deep down inside and maybe gag a little (and possibly pee a little too, if you’ve had kids).

But in the long run, it clears out a lot of harmful toxins.

So as I waited at the end of the line for my turn to roll back around, I told myself to be nice.

Even if it hurts.