Sunday, December 22, 2013

Common Courtesies and a Soapbox

DH wandered off to the grocery store today and I stayed at our 'vacation house' in the midwest to keep the home fires burning, and, since I couldn't do what I should be doing, I quilted. (darn it anyway :)

Later, DH described his "odd" shopping experience... He said that people were throwing about phrases like "thank you" and "can I help you?" and even "hello". Yes, its the holidays, but its still nice to hear it. And since I know the grocery store that he visited, the behavior he experienced what most likely under strong advisement by management. So did the behavior of the retail staff affect the behavior of the customers?

I carefully considered what DH had told me and some thoughts slowly developed. I have heard (and I believe to be the truth, not specifically, but generally) that people act the way they are allowed to act. People treat others no better than the least that they can get away with. Again, not always true but consider adults and children alike acting inappropriately. The companion (parent, spouse, whomever) sees the behavior and shrugs their shoulders (in resignation maybe?), or worse, makes excuses for the behavior.

It would seem that acceptance of bad behavior is passive permission to continue the behavior. Why would one change or improve if its just fine to be ill behaved? or rude?

Any excuses made by a companion for ill behavior not only gives blatant permission to continue the bad behavior, but provides the subject with an arsenal of excuses to use at will when their bad behavior is challenged. (EX: Mother says, "Little Johnny doesn't like to share his toys." Later, Little Johnny says to a playmate, "I don't like to share my toys.")

How can we hold someone else accountable for their behavior? One hopes that a parent taught their child that they show common courtesy to everyone around them. One hopes that children grow up and teach their children manners, respect and accountability.

If they don't, what happens? What about the person that steals - not food, but video games. What about the person that promises to deliver food to you while you are ill - but they don't. What about the person that wants to sell you oceanfront property in Arizona? Where is the accountability? Where does one learn to be a caring compassionate person?

I think one of the big sticking points is that you can't expect a parent to teach something they don't do, use, or understand. Maybe, as adults, we need a tiny lesson on basic and common courtesies. I found this list of courtesies to be taught to children at
1.Always say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
2.When someone is speaking to you, make eye contact and acknowledge that you are being spoken to.
3.When someone sneezes, acknowledge it. We say, bless you, but you could also say gesundheit or salud, which basically means good health.
4.When a guest comes to our home, greet them properly. (A simple hi will suffice while they’re still little.)
5.When someone compliments you, accept the compliment by saying thank you. Don’t negate the compliment in any way.
6.Hold the door for others. Never let the door close in someone else’s face. When the door is held for you, don’t just walk through it– thank the person who held it.
7.When waiting to get on an elevator, always allow those who are already on to exit before you enter. This holds true for entering a building as well.
8.When walking down a hallway, corridor, or sidewalk, don’t walk in a group that blocks others. Also, don’t stop and converse—step to the side to allow others to pass easily.
9.Respect others. You may not always agree with their ideas, but you can disagree respectfully.
10.Have a general awareness of others. If you bump into someone, apologize. If they drop something, pick it up for them. If someone in a car stops to let you cross the street, wave to them in thanks.

Perhaps, just for a day, we could hold ourselves to a slightly higher standard. Every one of us has the power to influence, good or bad, the people around us. If we change, even slightly, it will cause a domino affect and someone's day could be altered.

Make someone's day: Smile at them. Open a door for them. Wish them to have a pleasant evening. Its a start, right? Try it. I promise it won't hurt.

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