Who’s old enough to remember the little sticker on every VHS tape you would rent out from the video store? (I am well aware of how much I am aging myself, here.)

Quick side note: look at how much we can tell that the world has changed, just from reading that one question: 1) no more VHS tapes, but that’s not all, and 2) no more video stores! I remember even just 15 years ago, if you wanted to watch a movie on Friday night, you needed to make a trip to the video store and keep your fingers crossed that the one you had your heart set on wouldn’t be fully rented out.

What the sticker actually said

The sticker I’m talking about on the VHS tapes said:

Be kind. Rewind.

For all you young’uns who have no clue what I’m talking about, it was a prompt to rewind the video before you returned it to the rental store. In order to rewind a VHS, you need to insert the tape into a VCR, and press the “rewind” button. The rewind process for a movie took about 2 minutes to complete. And you could hear it – the hissing noise of the rewind taking place.

The sticker was on the tapes because there were many customers who would simply watch the video and then not rewind before returning it. Since the expectation was that every new rented video would be fully rewound and ready for you to watch, if a tape was returned not rewound, this became the store’s responsibility.

Be kind. Rewind. Do your part, be courteous and have the movie ready for the next viewer when you return it.

Apply it to life

A thought popped into my head a little while ago.

Why not reverse the order of the sticker statement and make it applicable to our behavioural choices every day.

Rewind. Be kind.

Backtrack that situation. Replay the scenario. Reverse the rude comment you just made. Undo the cruel, or disrespectful, or hurtful thing you did.

Rewind life for a second.

Be kind instead of unkind.

In other words, take a second. Think twice. Consider how you can act and react. Identify ways to be good, not bad. It’s that inner, reflective pause. The one where we catch ourselves in a split moment, and within the blink of an eye make that flash decision of how to act or react.

This is the rewind – or the pause, if you will.

The choice we make is the one to be kind.