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of RED RIVER VALLEY
|July 2005 Character Quality - Gentleness
|the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
When we think of gentleness, what is the first picture that comes to our minds? For some it is
a picture of a lamb bedding down in a patch of green grass, a watchful shepherd standing
beside it. For others it is a picture of a mother with a small child, tending carefully to every need
– seeing that nothing he needs is lacking. Gentleness, like meekness, is not weakness or a
“softy.” It is a controlled strength, a road to greatness and wisdom. It comes as we humble
ourselves and do to others, as we would have them to do to us. Gentleness is supporting
others during their times of weakness so that they can achieve their full potential. Claudian (399
A.D.) said, “Gentleness is able to accomplish what violence cannot.” If we want something done,
we are more likely to get it with gentleness than with being harsh, demanding, and uncaring.
We learn to be gentle by the way others demonstrate gentleness to us. There are several
ways to demonstrate this. Look for ways to ease or lighten the burdens of others by being
willing to help them with the things that require additional help. Consider others better than
ourselves and look out for other’s benefits. In a “#1” world, it is difficult to think of others before
ourselves, nevertheless, that is exactly what we must do if we want to advance ourselves.
Gentleness, like everything else, begins at the home. Take time to listen to a son or
daughter, brother or sister -- whether they are six years old or sixty. Show them that you care
and never brush them off as an “annoyance.” Being gentle comes from true wisdom and it is the
result of an understanding heart. It takes strong character to be caring, loving, and gentle to
others whether or not they are to us. Speak evil of no man, not returning evil for evil, but gentle,
showing meekness to all men. We cannot get irritable when others fail to be pleasant to us.
Instead of reacting to them, we must respond quietly.
There are countless ways to demonstrate this quality at home with our families, at school with
our classmates, at work with our co-workers, and everywhere else with our fellow man. A few
examples are these: smile at others, especially if you can see that they need one. Graciously
allow another to go ahead of you – open a door or any other courtesies that would be
appropriate. If a child falls on the playground or at the store, gently help him up and let him
know that you care. Doing appropriate things that make another person feel better and more
confident is gentleness.
“Few of us,” Margaret Singster once said, “will ever have the opportunity to perform great
deeds of heroism, but to every one of us there is given the chance day by day to be sweet, and
gracious and winsome.” As in every good thing, there is a reward for gentleness. Two such
rewards are gladness and calmness. It does not take a miracle to brighten someone’s day, but
a kind word will bring gladness and joy to the hearts of the giver as well as the receiver. By
staying well away from harsh words, we will prevent the wounded hearts and the walls between
family members. In our world today, a peaceful home is a rare and precious treasure. The first
step to gaining a home like this is gentleness.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials. Visit the Character Council of Red
River Valley at www.character-paris.org. For more information about the Character First! program and
resources contact: Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 815-0001