Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

I've been a bit stumped as to what to write. Having defined criteria for each day has helped, but Tuesday is still a challenge. Part of that comes from not wanting to put it all our there. I mean, I need some privacy. I don't want to offend people, but I also want to be true to myself. Know what I mean?

Here's a thought - what happened to chivalry? I know it's still out there. Every once in a while, a man will give up his seat on the train to a woman, hold a door open, or hold out a chair. Only on a rare occasion is this gentleman under the age of 50. When did manners become optional?

I think the only time this really bothers me is on the train. When a pregnant woman, or an elderly person, or someone who is physically challenged has to ask for someone to give up a seat and then is ignored, I have to wonder what the world is coming to.

Because I'm on the train for a fairly long ride, I find a seat towards the back of the car and at the window. By the 5th or 6th stop, I'm blocked in. It is wholly inconvenient for me to try to give my seat to someone else. But when you've got a surly teenager with baggy pants and ear buds in their ears sitting in the seats designated for seniors and disabled people, you want to yank the buds out of their ears and ask them if they are incapable of reading, let alone showing empathy.

Recently, a very pregnant woman came on the train and searched in vain for a seat. She then asked a young woman if she could have her seat. The teen said she'd been on her feet all day and didn't feel like standing for the rest of the ride. She got off 3 stops later - about 8 minutes. An elderly woman gave up her seat instead.

We have a very nice young man that works in our office. He's in his mid-20's and gives me hope. He's originally from New York. He always let's me enter the room before him when we're going to a meeting. He offered to get me lunch when it was raining very hard one day. He even walked me to the train when we had to work late one night - even though it was in the opposite direction of where he needed to go. When I asked him why he did these things, he said that's how he was raised. I asked if his friends were the same way, and he said they were. He was surprised that people were so "different" here on the West Coast. See, he's even polite when it comes to criticizing our disrespectful ways.

I know that this happens in other places, I just don't understand why it happens. When did parents stop teaching their children to be polite and respectful? You're not stifling creativity or independence or individuality. Isn't it more important that a child be raised to have empathy and appreciate the acts of kindness and giving? I'm just sayin'....

I am very appreciative of the small kindnesses that my co-worker shows me. I also am thankful that I don't take it for granted.

If you've got a young person in your life that is "old-fashioned", give them a hug and say thank you. Maybe, if they lead by example, those that have not learned these lessons will catch on.

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