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How do you Live Your Dash?

Inspire Kindness Team

Inspiration for Parents

The phrase “live your dash” comes from one of the most popular poems in the world – The Dash, by Linda Ellis.

It means to be mindful that we’re only on this earth a little while. It means to spend each day with passion and purpose…

and to inspire others by living a life of joy, compassion, and kindness.

Here’s the poem for you to read:


the poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Now that you’ve read the poem, here’s what it means to Live Your Dash:


Be Slow to Anger

Anger can eat away at your ability to be joyful and kind. Life is too short – choose forgiveness and let it go. As William Ward says: “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate.”

Say Thank You  

Those two little words hold incredible power. Think about how you feel when someone thanks you. You feel validated and appreciated. When you do the same for other people, you pass along that positive energy. It may be just what they needed at that moment.

Love People  

Our Dash moves with lightning speed. It seems like only yesterday the kids were just toddlers learning to walk, and now they’ve got children of their own! As they say, “the days are long, but the years are short.” Never miss an opportunity to show love and say, “I love you.”

Treat Others with Respect  

You have opportunities every day to spend your dash through simple acts of kindness and respect. This quote by George Washington Carver says it best:  “How far you go in your life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

Wear a Smile  

Our dash may be short, but it can be wide. Often a simple smile will break through tension and stress. A smile will not only affect those around you, but it will change your attitude and outlook on life. Try it right now – just smile!

Remember, Life is Short

Make every moment matter. It’s been said that “we don’t remember days; we remember moments.” Being present and in the moment provides some of life’s greatest joys — A crackling fire on a cold winter night, reading a love note from your spouse, watching a beautiful sunset, or having coffee with a friend. It’s moments like these that make life worth living.

Think about your life.

What are some moments you cherish and hold most dear? Who are the people in your life that you need to say “thank you” to? Is there someone in your life who could use some love and attention…a smile or a hug?

Examine your heart and think about what is true and real. Now is the time to rearrange the things that need to be changed. As Suzanne Chapin says, “All that is worth cherishing in this world begins in the heart, not in the head.”

Live your Dash Well. Learn more about The Dash at

The Dash Poem and the words “Live Your Dash” are the copyrights and trademarks of Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc.  © 1996-2019 Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 


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