Recently I’ve had several conversations where individuals have shared examples of less than civil behavior they’ve experienced:
- The cashier who disgruntledly rings in your merchandise while not making eye contact or engaging in conversation
- The organization that does not return your repeated calls for service, nor do they acknowledge their lack of response
- The person who ignores your having held the door open for them, or having picked up and returned to them something they’ve dropped
- And don’t even get me started about the lack of driving etiquette
We’ve all suffered the slight that someone else has done to us, and we’ll gladly share that story – in exact detail – with anyone willing to listen. And yet I wonder if we share, with the same enthusiasm, those small acts of kindness that are done for us every day.
- The person who held the elevator for you
- The peer who, unsolicited, provides an endorsement for you
- The service technician who not only repairs your item but explains how to care for it properly
- The Court Clerk who does everything she can to make the jury pool feel comfortable and respected during their time in her courtroom
It is said that we give life to something simply by paying attention to it. I would offer that we refocus our attention on civility – both our own and that of those around us. My hope is that it will be easy for us to begin to identify these actions, and that with a bit of practice, we’ll start noticing them everywhere.