What Fifth Grade Taught Me About Kindness and Beauty

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As my time at LDS.net is coming to a close, I reflected on what I’d like to write in one of my last articles. As I reflected, I thought about an experience I had in the fifth grade.

All of the kids in the class were to anonymously write something nice about their peers on a piece of paper and then put it in their specific bag. I anxiously started to read through my little sheets of paper hoping that all of the boys thought I was the cutest, coolest or the funniest.

To my young heart’s disappoint 90 percent of the comments said the exact same thing:

Bridget is kind.

“What?! That’s it!?” I came home absolutely devastated and started to dissect what I thought they meant by kind. Did they just put that down because they had nothing else to say? Am I too quiet? Am I not cute enough?

Now at the ripe, experienced age of 24 (clever, I know), I have come to cherish and appreciate the virtue of kindness. Through my experiences I’ve come to realize that the most beautiful women are kind.

Marjorie Pay Hinckley, someone who I consider to be one of the most beautiful women, often spoke about the importance of kindness. She advised,

Image via Deseret News.
Image via Deseret News.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

I have definitely found this to be true. Just a couple of days ago, our mail lady was injured by our unstable and clunky mail box. When speaking to her after the accident, she was very upset and my initial thought was to be impatient and short with her because it was unintentional. However, as she spoke about her day-to-day routine I realized that her life wasn’t easy. As I came to better understand her, my reaction completely changed.

Compassion, empathy and understanding are catalysts to kindness. As we try to better understand those around us and their “battles” it will be all the easier to exercise kindness and love.

However, kindness doesn’t equate with people-pleasing, cowering or lowering your standards. That is a lesson that I learned the hard way on my mission.

I previously thought that being bold wasn’t nice or kind. I never wanted to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings.

On Christmas day 2013, my companion and I were biking home and we came across a young man who was completely antagonistic towards the Church. He called us every name you could possibly imagine and then asked us why we were members of the Church. My companion boldly and powerfully testified of Jesus Christ, the prophet Joseph Smith and the Savior’s restored Church. Goosebumps ran up my spine and I came to understand that her powerful and bold witness was the kindest act that she could have shown this young man.

Kindness is now one of my favorite Christlike attributes and now looking back on the 10-year-old Bridget I’d like to tell her that being known for exemplifying kindness is a foundational mark of true beauty.

To close, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke of the true and lasting loveliness of womanhood,

“The loveliest woman…known had a glow of health, a warm personality, a love of learning, stability of character and integrity. If we may add the sweet and gentle Spirit of the Lord carried by such a woman, then this describes the loveliness of women in any age or time, every element of which is emphasized in and attainable through the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Bridget is a newsroom writer at LDS.net. She graduated in April 2015 from Brigham Young University in communications with an emphasis of public relations. She served a Spanish speaking LDS mission in McAllen, Texas. She is a skilled pianist and an expert baker of chocolate chip cookies.