Filled with Loving Kindness: A Mantra Worth Repeating

You is kind.
You is important.
You is smart.

These are the words given to a character in the film The Help, written by Tate Taylor adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name.  The character, Aibileen Clark, is an African American woman in her 50’s portrayed in the south of the 1960’s as a domestic worker in the home of middle class white people.  She has spent her entire life taking care of white children, and these words, quoted above, are those she says ritually every day to a small girl in her keeping.  One of the many heart-breaking moments of the film occurs when she is abruptly fired from her position based on the pride and a lie of a white woman to her employer.  In tears, she comforts the child who is horrified at being suddenly separated from Aibileen.  Aibileen brings the child back to calm, peace and quiet with these daily words of reassurance:  You is kind.  You is important.  You is smart.  They embody a message and a foundation in human reality that her mother, her mother’s friend and most of the culture around her is completely ignorant of.

And, the entire film is based on a novel.  Fiction.

So, none of it can be worth our reflection, can it?  Nonsense.  Some of the most powerful truth is carried to us through good stories whether they are historical events or not.  We know that The Help in both novel and movie form portray much of the reality of both pre and post civil rights America.  Whether Aibileen Clark ever existed or said these words, the writer has captured a truth.

Just imagine the power of a woman suffering enough for a hundred people being able to reflect on life deeply enough to share this message with any other human being:

You is kind.  You is important.  You is smart.

I’ve taken these few short words as personal scripture.  As personal prayer.  As personal advice.  As personal wisdom to share with those around me who find themselves in despair.

You is kind.  You is important.  You is smart.

They call us.  They remind us.  They direct and redirect us.  They console us when we are most lost, because they help us put ourselves back together again.  Kindness belongs to us. Dignity belongs to us.  Curiosity and the ability to follow it belong to us.  It’s a mantra worth repeating:

You is kind.  You is important.  You is smart.

Bob Patrick

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