As I have entered what many call the” Golden Years”, I have begun to notice a complete lack of two things that I was taught as a younger person, observed my elders practicing, and was told if I wanted to be a success at anything, I needed to practice as an adult. At the time I was taught this it was commonplace that people treated each other, more or less, this way.
The two things I’m talking about are respect and civility. There seems to be an utter lack of both in today’s world. Some, and I emphasize some, although it is a growing number, of today’s young people treat their elders as though they cannot wait for them to either retire or die and get out of their way. I have no doubt that they were not taught, as I was, to either treat my elders with respect and civility, or suffer the consequences for not doing so. The consequences when I was young was to hear the sound of a belt being unbuckled and released to be used as a” learning” tool.
However, I can’t blame this all on the young people because adults are now acting like spoiled children. If they don’t get their way, they treat other people verbally like I’m sure the plantation owners spoke to their slaves.
Social media has become a place where there are no consequences for vile and uncivil behavior because one can hide behind an alias, or even a false name. My grandfather had one rule, never say something about a man behind his back that you wouldn’t say to his face. That rule seems to have been forgotten by some today.
I also noticed a decided increase in the number of people who seem to think now that they are in some kind of a caste system and they are in the” upper” caste. One thing I have always tried to do is to treat everyone with the respect due them as a human being. I treat the janitor with the same respect I would treat the CEO. In fact, many times I have learned more from the janitor about how the business is run that I learned from the owner or the CEO.
All work deserves respect, if you look around you will see that no matter what the job, some people produce excellent skills and others do as little as they can to get by. Everyone, no matter who they are, deserves respect as a human being, and because everyone likes to be respected, you have to give respect to earn it.
The other aspect of society which has not completely disappeared, but seems to be on the endangered species list is civility. It costs you nothing to say hello to someone, a passerby, a fellow traveler, a complete stranger. A smile and a hello is like the” butterfly effect”, because you never know the circumstances or troubles of strangers. Over the years I have heard countless stories of someone engaging a complete stranger and making a difference in the strangers life without ever knowing it. In large cities we don’t speak to each other, we don’t make eye contact because were afraid, we don’t smile at each other, we don’t engage each other in any kind of human contact. But we rush home to post on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and a plethora of other social media applications knowing that complete strangers will read them. The art of face-to-face conversation is fast becoming a lost art.
If we would all just try to engage five complete strangers every day with a smile and a” hello” or a” how are you today?”, who knows what kind of difference in may make in someone’s life, maybe even our own.
The one thing I’m very certain of is that we say that cancer and heart disease are the number one killers in our society, but I can tell you this, depression and loneliness probably top both of those.
When we all leave this veil of tears, and pass on into the great beyond, one thing is certain no matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you think you are, the only real legacy we all truly leave is what we leave behind in the hearts and minds of others.