By Katie Walsh | Opinions Editor
For nearly a year and a half, I have been filling this space with witty words of encouragement, advice and defenses for the benefits of literature. My goal has always been to provide a reason for people to smile and, hopefully, create a thought or two that wasn’t there before. My final moments being quite thought full, at least for my beloved Duke, are shadowed by the tragic events at the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to my favorite American city, the city that has held my hopes and dreams for over 15 years.
There are no witty comments to be made from events such as this and no words to fully express the sympathy I have for those whose loved ones were lost or injured.
What I can offer is the simplest thought that can reach anyone: be kind to your fellow man. That’s all. There is so much ill will in the world today, as Monday’s senseless acts have shown us. People talk about losing faith in humanity because we are the generation which has grown up with headlines of terror from childhood to adulthood, from 9/11 to Virginia Tech six years ago. What else is there that can reassure one another that there is good in the world?
If we all took a step back to think of how we can be kind to our fellow man, we can discover a way to contribute that can make this world a better place. Each of us has something to contribute, whether it’s a smile for others to enjoy or a new perspective that could offer something greater. Nothing is too small or too big that can contribute kindness to a world much in need of it.
The easiest place to begin is here on campus. Duquesne is a community that prides itself on its service to students and community. As Dean James Swindal once told me, “There are a lot of ways you can be educated in the world, but there’s something unique about ours.” What is unique is that, from mandated ethics courses to requiring service learning hours, Duquesne graduates are taught how to be contributing members of society simply by caring for those around them. To those who have time left here, I urge you to pay heed to the lessons of caring that will be taught in and out of the classroom.
At the city level, there are countless ways to contribute to the tightly-knit Steel City. For the past four years, I have whined about brutalities against my purple during football season, but this Baltimore born-and-raised will never shy to defend just how this city can come together. From the annual spring clean-up to the attempts at revitalization all over the city, Pittsburgh is a city the community can depend on to get work done. The opportunities for showing kindness by means of contributing are endless.
Contribution at the national level can be a bit trickier if you’re not one for military service or politics. Opt for teaching pride in your country to those around you, young and old. Be vigilant in knowing what is going on in D.C. to be an informed citizen who can contribute a voice on local, state and national issues. No matter what line of work you seek or are presently working in, contribute to your country by being an honorable law-abiding citizen making a difference in any way you can.
Contribute to the world with kindness. There will be times when each and every one of us is going to throw up our hands in disgust and wonder at the pain that our fellow men willingly push onto one another. Other times, you can only admire the power of the human spirit when it is triumphant in making a positive difference. From the runners who crossed Monday’s finish line and kept on running to the nearest hospital to donate blood to those who greet everyone with a smile simply because it’s a gray day in Pittsburgh or wherever and sunshine has to come from somewhere. Contributing kindness is and will always be the greatest combatant.
Be kind. Smile. Hold the door open. Have a bit of hope. You never know if your contribution of kindness will be the one to set the change for something or someone. Four years’ worth of pieces in The Duke and I’d like it all to come down to this: Always be kind. Always think of how to be kind. And, please, always be quite thought full.
Katie Walsh is a senior English and philosophy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.