In Memory Of My Captain

Albert R Nackab

Our time in this life is fleeting, but the impact we make through genuine, heartfelt acts of kindness are the legacy we leave behind; the testament that we left this world a bit better than when we entered it. Our possessions may not follow us for an eternity, but rest assured our legacy of kindness will remain long after our sun has set.
This book is in memory of my captain, my grandpa. He may have lived a simple life, but his legacy is far from simple. He didn’t speak words of kindness, he did much more than that. He lived them and by so doing inspired myself and every family member to live kindness through and through. To you grampsi, our captain, thank you for paving the path for us to follow and equipping us with the tools and confidence to pave our very own path in the spirit of kindness, love, tolerance, and compassion. Here’s to the road not yet traveled, the path not yet taken, the change awaiting to be discovered. And here’s to all those out there courageous enough to take the journey with me one step at a time.

It All Started With A Promise

A promise to be there for people the way I wished someone would have been there for me; to see people the way I wished someone would have seen me. Who would have thought that years later it would develop into an organization, a movement, a revolution of kindness; reminding the dreamer within each of us that we can change the world through simple yet powerful acts of love and kindness.
As a 15 year old kid unsure of her place in the world, shy, reserved and lacking the confidence and self-value to believe she was important; it took a fire, the tragedy of losing my home, my security and peace of mind to find myself; to find my voice, to find my strength, to find the dreamer trapped inside just begging to get out and share her vision.
Who would have thought that my moment of clarity would be born in the midst of a dark depression; one in which I didn’t think I would escape, one in which I didn’t want to escape. Kindness has always been at my core. I loved people and my level of empathy was always at an all time high; perhaps it was the reason I was so sensitive and so easily hurt by others, but I would soon find out that it was in fact my greatest possession.
As a teenager I may have been shy, but I always loved to go above and beyond for people; whether I knew them or not. Perhaps it shook my world when finding myself homebound for two months during my darkest hours that not one person came to visit, not one person called to check in on me. It no longer felt as though it was only the material possessions in my home that went up in flames; it felt as though I went up in flames with it. Questions filled my mind: would anyone even notice if I was here tomorrow? Would anyone care? I would acknowledge these feelings with affirmation after affirmation. “You don’t matter.” “You’re worthless.” “You CAN’T accomplish anything.” “You’re hopeless.” “No one cares about you.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You have no friends.” It didn’t take me long to believe them. Before I knew it, I couldn’t see past them.
Forced to go back to school against my will, when I walked into that building once again I wasn’t the same person. Sitting alone in the corner, engrossing myself in my only comfort of writing dark and morbid poetry wishing that the pain I was feeling would end, wishing that life itself would end. I could care less about my grades let alone anything else.
Then it happened. One not so special morning as I was in the bathroom washing up, preparing for yet another day of misery I stopped and looked at myself in the mirror. I focused in on my eyes more and more until I burst out in tears. I may have seen my reflection but I no longer saw that 4 year old dreamer who had hopes and aspirations of changing the world; that 4 year old dreamer who believed in her heart of hearts that she was meant to shake this world with the power of kindness. It was as though she was gone; taken from me and to be honest that scared me most of all.
I had fallen so far behind; socially, academically, mentally, spiritually. How would I ever pick myself back up again? How would I ever find my way? How would I ever find that 4 year old girl? I didn’t know the answer, but I knew that I needed to make a change however difficult that would be. It was at that moment that I resolved to make a promise to myself. A promise that has guided me ever since. A promise that is responsible for the person I am today. A promise that led me to the 7 most transformative years of my life teaching. A promise that led me to take a leap of faith and leave that amazing job to pursue the dream of a 4 year old child who envisioned a world based on kindness; a world in which people felt empowered, loved, important and unique as they should. A world in which recognition of our value leads to the recognition of the value in others and the reasons to war, hate, and divide no longer exist. A world in which people of all backgrounds, religions, races and ethnicities can finally see that our differences are reasons to celebrate; it’s the essence of our beauty even more so it’s the essence of our strength.
Kindness is the simplest, yet greatest tool to empower a person to catch a glimpse of their own potential, of their true value, of their worth. Help a person see that they have meaning, that they have a purpose and you change the trajectory of their entire lives; showing them that while they may be only one piece of the puzzle; without them the puzzle will forever remain incomplete.
Kindness is what makes us members of humanity and while it’s not a new concept it’s one we oftentimes forget and lose sight of. Kindness is seeing the beauty in others and helping them see it in themselves; but until we can see the beauty within ourselves, how can we possibly see it in others.
Our greatest strength, our life vest that keeps us afloat amongst the hardships and curve balls life throws our way is inside of us! It’s through the kindness we bestow on others and through the kindness others bestow on us that we keep this world afloat. The more we give, the more we heal, the stronger we become, the stronger we can help others become. After all we’re all connected.
This book serves as a reminder that kindness is within our reach. You don’t need to be the smartest, richest, most athletic, most popular, or most beautiful person to take part; you simply need to be YOU!
Kindness isn’t something you do, schedule within your day or pencil into your calendar. Kindness is who you are, at all times, in all situations. It’s how you see the world and all the people in it; from the president of the company to the person sweeping the floors.
It’s no coincidence then that this book is structured as a lesson a day; broken down into 12 chapters, 12 categories of kindness for each month. Each chapter containing an act of kindness, quote and short reflection. It’s not meant to tell you what to do; it’s meant to help you reconnect to something you already know; reconnect to the best part of yourself. To get the full effect, read this book in the same manner you would take a journey; in stride, one experience at a time. It’s not a race to the finish. Allow yourself to reflect on the act, the story and perhaps you will find that it will help you recall your very own stories; moments in which kindness have touched you, impacted you and moments in which your kindness impacted others.
I’m a firm believer that it’s by looking back on the things we HAVE accomplished, the achievements we HAVE made that will lead us and guide us to go further in life and give back in greater ways than we could have dreamed possible. Let’s utilize the momentum from the positive energy to help us take the next steps forward. A happy life can never be attained through feelings of guilt, regret and sorrow. Perhaps you may not like the person you are today, but each day is a new page in your book of life; the paintbrush is in your hand - it’s up to you to create the picture.
Whether you read this book in order, read one act from a different chapter each day, or let the power of fate help you randomly select a new act each day - you’ll find that if you allow your heart and mind to be open you are in for some amazing self discoveries. What you may find is that kindness opportunities are more frequent than you ever imagined.

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