Has it been long enough? Can I post again about the gym? I was hoping that at our pristine new gym location (open for less than 3 weeks), with enthusiastic staff and members reticent to leave things strewn about, we might see an improvement over how messy and disorganized it had become at the old location. But come on, it’s not the staff’s fault. Should they really have to pick up your towel for you? Close the door of the shower after you leave it wide open? Sort the weights you’ve put back in the wrong place because you didn’t bother to look at the label on the rack, or even the other plates already in place?
Don’t get me started about my being the only sane driver on the road. I won’t plead total innocence as to use of my phone while I drive, but this weekend I counted 4 or 5 drivers on I-435 that were looking down at their phones the entire time I drove by them. Or how little sense it made to put a series of roundabouts (traffic circles) along a neighborhood filed with, er, seasoned drivers who are least likely to understand how to use them? I stopped counting how many times I’ve seen someone drive counterclockwise (and therefore against the correct flow of oncoming traffic) to make a left turn instead of going around to the right. But at least they signaled their left turn first.
What gets under my skin the most, though, is seeing groups of kids, or even kids under the supposed supervision of their parents, trash the space they’ve been using (restaurant, school, church). I don’t tolerate it on trips or outings with our students, and I have to bite my tongue when I see random students do it. So what if some employee will pick it up if you don’t? They shouldn’t have to clean up after you like you are four.
I could point fingers at self-absorbed parents, or teachers too overwhelmed with expectations to focus on social skills, or youth leaders who go so far as to encourage rowdy behavior. But at the root of it all is the truth that we all have sinned and fall short of perfection. We are all selfish. We are all lazy if left to our own devices. If someone else will do it for us, we won’t bother. Except…
Don’t people notice when you go out of your way to be polite? Do your kids say please and thank you? Do you? What if as you left, restaurants complimented you as a family (or youth group) for how amazed they were at your kids? What if people on the road did a double take at how much you considered other drivers? What if members mistook you for an employee because you did more than your part to maintain a great environment at the gym?
My grandparents’ generation wouldn’t have dared to talk to their elders the way I am commonly addressed as a sub, and that’s in some of the best schools in the state. It used to be called common courtesy, because everyone innately recognized the proper way to act. Those days are, sadly, behind us. But I believe a standard can still be maintained by those who seek to honor Christ with their daily lives and the life of their family. Uncommon courtesy will be noticed, I guarantee.