PENDER COUNTY, N.C. — A 90-year-old man in Pender County still has plenty of fight left in him, and he's determined to leave a legacy for good – changing the world one "Loving Kindness" sticker at a time.
What You Need To Know
- "Loving Kindness" is loosely based on the Buddhist state of Nirvana – working toward a higher consciousness
- The theory believes that being loving and kind is the cornerstone of human consciousness
- Loving Kindness brings peace of mind, compassion and joy
Carl Richter came up with the idea of "Loving Kindness" over seven years ago before COPD limited his ability to travel with ease. At that time, he was able to deliver bumper stickers and posters to anyone who would take them, including schools, churches and community groups.
“When Loving Kindness is prominent in awareness, it brings three companions to the state of mind,” Richter said. “One is an explicable peace of mind, the second thing it brings is compassion for all suffering, mental and physical, and the third things it brings, which I'm experiencing now, is joy living in this present moment.”
He believes that the capacity to be loving and kind is naturally in everyone, but it becomes buried and overshadowed by the demands of everyday life.
“We think that seeing the words restores it or brings it to consciousness and it can have profound effects,” Richter said. "There is a purpose for it now and I think maybe that's why I'm here."
Richter realized that he can't carry the torch by himself anymore. Two teachers who experienced firsthand what Loving Kindness did in the lives of their students were only too happy to step up and spread the message for him.
“I had seen the bumper stickers all over,” Barbara Raynor, a former teacher, said. “A friend of mine lost her son. When he passed away I kept seeing these bumper stickers. Then I went to the school and all of a sudden I saw these bumper stickers on the wall and I was like 'Wait a minute, I've been looking for these!'”
Raynor and her sister, Rosie Christian, both taught at South Topsail Elementary but never got to tell Richter the difference his Loving Kindness stickers made in their classrooms.
“I had it on my whiteboard and from that year on I used it in my curriculum,” Christian said. “It stuck with them and they would just say it if someone was not nice to them - they'd say 'Loving Kindness!'”
Richter can hardly believe that first group of students is now nearly in high school, and his only hope is that Raynor and Christian are right – and something stuck.
“The kids knew all I had to do was point to it and they knew,” Christian said. “I told them the story of this man at the beach who wanted to spread the loving kindness concept.”
At this point, that man at the beach only wishes he would've thought of it 40 years sooner, but he's not one to look back. He's already looking to the future and the next generation.
“I don't know what's gonna happen, but this old man is excited,” Richter said. “It's something positive to dwell on.”