Our community has experienced another tragedy. Perhaps you struggle as I do to understand a sadness and pain even with no direct connection to either family, the one dealing with a devastating loss or the one realizing one of their own is involved. We cry for them, not knowing what they need, yet realizing even if we did, we might not be able to provide it.
There is a movie of memories replaying in my heart at the moment. As I drove off to grad school in an old Plymouth I bought from my grandpa, there was that never-altered lecture one more time from Dad that always ended with, “Don’t stop to help anyone.” I knew he didn’t always practice what he preached to me. I was old enough to understand why.
So I told my parents of the times a stranger would go out of the way to help me, but I didn’t tell them of the times I did the same, because things didn’t always go as planned, and they would worry more. They were humble and kind, so I was raised that way. More memories surface of lessons preached to my son, and the tug on my heart as I realized, yes, one more time I am telling him to be careful, and one more time I am hearing him say, “Mom, I’m a grown man now.”
In January, 2016, Tim McGraw’s rendition of “Humble and Kind” was released. It’s a song with a touching message accentuated by a vivid video. If you read the backstory of the recording, McGraw shares that he had a hard time with it in the studio. He could hardly get through a line without crying as he faced sending a daughter off to college. The words hit home.
Lori McKenna is the songwriter of those lyrics. She sang them on the stage of the Grand Ol’ Opry, prefacing it with the light-hearted comment that maybe her kids would be listening. Mom Lori standing alone on a stage, singing the words she wrote with her kids in mind, is as powerful a performance as is dad McGraw singing her lyrics with his own children ever-present in his mind.
What a paradox, to raise generations to be humble and kind in a world that isn’t. Will there be a tipping point?
(Videos of both McKenna and McGraw performing “Humble and Kind” are on YouTube. They are worth viewing.)