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Adrion W. Baird, 32
La Follette, Tennessee

Simple kindness is the loveliest flower in the garden of virtue.


When King Edward VII of England was Prince of Wales, he hosted a dinner to honor a citizen for his many distinguished achievements. But the table manners of his guest had not kept pace with his rise to fame. When the tea was served, he poured some into his saucer to cool before drinking it. Looks of amusement and embarrassment swept over the faces of the dinner guests.

The Prince, sensing the awkward situation, immediately poured some of his tea into his saucer and began to drink from it. The other guests did likewise out of kindness and respect for the honored guest. Thus, from that noble gesture to save a guest from embarrassment, drinking from one’s saucer became royal table etiquette. Whether the story is true or not, it is an object lesson in kindness and brotherly love.

In his little booklet, “The Power of Kindness,” Harry M. Tippett wrote that kindness is “the loveliest flower in the garden of virtue.” He added, “It blooms in every kind of soil, and often in the darkest corners. It knows no particular season, and flourishes in every latitude.” Kindness expresses itself in many ways. It may be an understanding smile when it is needed. It may be a spontaneous phone call, a greeting card, or a personal letter. It may be a visit to an ill Brother. It may be a patient and sympathetic ear.

For example, a few years ago while attending Lodge, I did not perform a particular task very well. I felt that I had embarrassed myself and some of my Brethren, and I needed a sympathetic word of reassurance. The Grand Inspector, Bro. Harold R. Gray, who was in the Lodge that evening, sensed my feeling of inadequacy. He gently placed his hand on my shoulder and quietly uttered golden words of encouragement. I shall never forget his act of kindness.

An early American Quaker, Stephen Grellet, perhaps would be unknown today except for his few words about kindness that made his memory immortal: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”


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