Monday, November 17, 2014

Manners Monday – #DareToBePolite - How We Behave

Step 1/Week 3: First Impressions: How we behave.  Turn on any morning television news show and you’ll witness the barrage of stories dedicated to people’s bad behavior. It may be a fallen politician, an enraged sports figure, a bawdy celebrity or a regular Joe who committed a heinous crime.  Sure these may be extreme examples amplified in the media for pure entertainment, but oftentimes they are not.  Our public role models (save the Joe criminal) tend to disappoint.  And what about our own behavior that is not publicized for all the world to see? How do we conduct ourselves on a daily basis with our families, with our friends and when we’re out and about on our streets and in our communities? 

Each and every day we are confronted with choices that test our behavior and moral makeup.  There is always a clear right and wrong choice and the wrong choice is typically much more appealing because it feels reckless, carefree or fun.  While this may be an acceptable excuse for a two year old who is too young to know better or a reality show star who is being paid good money to behave like a two year old, there isn’t much tolerance anywhere else. 

Granted, none of us are perfect and we do slip up.  It’s hard to hold it altogether 24/7, especially in today’s frenetic society. And if children are in the mix, then all rules are pushed aside and the claws come out.  In “Terms of Endearment,” mama Shirley Maclaine could care less what the hospital staff thought of her as she cursed at the top of her lungs demanding medicine for her daughter who was experiencing pain.  Perfectly understandable.

For the next seven days we are focusing on every day behavior.  In other words, the way we go about our day when not faced with a traumatic or dire situation.  Starting with our early morning routine, from the way we greet our household when we arise to the way we treat the barista at our local Starbucks. Are we cutting in the carpool line at school drop off or giving someone the finger who just cut us off on the road?  At work, are we sending scathing emails to the entire department or stealing someone else's marked food in the kitchen?  Are we chewing out the lunch lady for giving us the wrong change? During the day, are we waiting patiently in line at the pharmacy for our prescription to be filled? Are we treating the restaurant staff with as much respect as our boss sitting across from us at the table?  In the community, are we cordial to the librarian, the policeman, and the gas station attendant? At home, after a long day, are we impatiently screaming at our kids or ignoring our significant others?  When we say goodnight, do we lovingly kiss our loved ones or grunt our way to bed?  

While most of us don't have the luxury of being followed around by our own personal reality show crew, all of us are living under a constant microscope where our every action may be taken out of context and misconstrued. There are a million ways to make a grave mistake and our actions, reactions or inaction has a domino effect on others.

How will you choose to behave over the next seven days?  Share with us what you observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to #daretobepolite!  

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