While watching the evening news the other night, I couldn’t help but notice that NEWS by definition is NOT positive. The entire broadcast was consumed with doom and gloom until they got to the very last segment. Suddenly it was peaches and cream reporting.
The “happy thought” for the evening always features someone who does something nice or kind or generous for someone else. The copy for that video article is full of common courtesy and graciousness.
It struck me that maybe our culture has forgotten how to be kind and courteous. I offer as some evidence an article I recently read in INC magazine. It was entitled, “Ten Magic Phrases to Put on a Cheat Sheet Next to your Computer so People will Like You More on Zoom Calls.”
The phrases included: “Tell me more. What do you think? How can I help? Please/thank you. You are welcome.” Give me a break. We are in very sad shape when our culture needs a cheat sheet to remember to say thank you, please or you are welcome.
Common courtesy seems to be a dying art. Maybe we need to remember the instructions we find in Ephesian chapter 4 where Paul urges us to be kind to one another. Or maybe we ought to reflect a bit on Maya Angelou’s quote, “People will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
So, this week, I am challenging all of us to turn up our courtesy meter. Let’s look people in the eye. Let’s ask how they are doing and listen for their response. Let’s open doors for anyone around us (not just old ladies). Let’s move over for the bicyclists. Let the grumpy guy merge in front of us. Maybe even buy coffee for the gal behind us in line at Starbucks.
It may require that we remember that we are not the only human on earth. There are lots of folks meandering around our world. Not all of them look or act like us. But they all have value and worth because God says they were made in His image.
It may require that we remember that a difference of opinion doesn’t equate to a right/wrong equation. We might just have a slightly different perspective on things. It’s ok. With a little practice, I will bet that we can agree to disagree.
This pursuit of common courtesy may also require that we learn that “no” might occasionally apply to us. It sure seems like folks in South County just don’t do “no.” Too often, it feels like that “No Parking” sign in front of the restaurant doesn’t apply to us. We blithefully ignore the laws or regulations we don’t like. It seems that our time, our opinion, or our perspective is the only one that counts.
But it is just not so. This week I am going to make an incredible effort to be kind. Would you like to join me? (Need a cheat sheet?)