July 19, 2011

Being Civil/Respectful Vs Loving...

I heard the kids talking about being social the other day. My daughter was saying something about not really getting along with a lot of people. My son said something along the lines of "just be nice". I butted in (of course--that's what parents do!) and said, you don't have to like everyone and walk around giving bear hugs to every person in the world, but you do have to be civil and respect everyone even if you don't necessarily like them and that's not negotiable

That may be easy for me to say--I'm a social butterfly--it isn't very difficult to be in social settings, being nice and chatty and striking conversations with people, the kind that within 5 minutes a complete stranger is telling me their deep/dark secrets. Is it because I may across as nice, civil and respectful? Does being a loving person fit somewhere in there? Does that automatically mean that an introvert is not a loving person? Not at all...I may be a little rusty but the commandment is: "Love thy neighbor as thyself", right? It doesn't say: "Be thou respectful and civil" Going back to what I told my kid, I don't think it is possible--if anything--appropriate in our society to go around giving everyone bear hugs, but we have to start somewhere and to me being civil and respectful is a good place to do so.

Even so, in the hustle and bustle of the day we sometimes forget to at the very least be civil and respectful because everyone is in their own little bubble of craziness and we either don't have time to stop and be polite to others, let alone think of bringing them into our own chaos, but at the same time we oftentimes don't think of pausing and stick to the basic niceties of "good morning, hello, please, thanks". I hope we do, but I'm surprised how often I see that not happening and makes me scratch my head. One of the things I really enjoy while I'm running is encountering other runners/bikers/walkers on the trail and almost without exception, people either nod, waive or will even manage a quick hello to each other. Maybe it is because we're all doing something we all enjoy and away from the daily grind and if anything that might set a tone for cordiality.

So does this post have a point? Perhaps--maybe not. Oftentimes we hear how this person is nice, or how another person is good, giving or loving and then we hear how to stay away from such and such person because they're angry, bitter, depressed--I'm sure no one likes to deal with the negative Neds in life but doesn't everyone deserve the same kind of respect and kindness? Is it fair to cut someone off driving or give a pedestrian the right of way only because if we don't we might get a ticket, or should we do it only because it is the right thing to do? Does it even start with a good morning gesture, a nod, a smile, a quick text? I sure notice little things like that and they tend to make my day--I'm sure to some people it might be exhausting, but again, for the sake of my ideal world where we'd all be singing Kumba-ya, with rainbows in the sky 24/7 and glitter all around us, we'll have to start somewhere....

So hello to you, and you and yes even you too!! :-)

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