Today I’d like to talk a little about consideration. Not the kind in which one takes a set of observations and facts and weighs them to form a conclusion or the kind that’s employed when deciding the most suitable punishment for a misbehaving child. No, this kind of consideration is the kind that used to be drilled into children by their parents and teachers. The kind that acts as a lubricant for social interactions. Just good, old fashioned respect and civility. The kind that seemed to be on life support in the 90s and removed and buried in the 2000s.
Why do so few people practice basic consideration these days? Why are people set on cynicism and self indulgence by default so often these days? Take the coffee junkie in my office for example. A really great guy, he’s smart, talented, friendly, reliable, etc. Sounds awesome, right? Yet he is so addicted to coffee that he requires his own coffee pot and every morning, he goes to the water cooler and fills his decanter with COLD water, (despite the fact that he’s going to make it hot), thus ensuring that nobody else will be drinking cold water any time soon. I mean, why can’t he fill it at the tap? It’s the same water. He doesn’t even know he’s being inconsiderate because he is so focused on achieving his goal of brewing his morning fix, it never occurs to him that there might be people who want a drink of cool water in the morning.
Then there is the person on the freeway who just absolutely cannot let you pass them or get into their lane in front of them. The few thousandths of a second that it might cost them is too precious to brook any interference, real or perceived. Or the person who pointedly looks the other way, rather than pausing to hold the door for somebody with an armload, the guy who plays his music too loudly late at night, the woman who refuses to leave a theater while her child’s tantrum reaches epic proportions, the litterbug, the person who won’t flush a public toilet… you get the picture.
None of these are new or even recent behaviors but they sure seem to be much more common than they were. And the result of a lack of consideration almost always raises the misery level for at least one person and sometimes even for the person being inconsiderate. Consideration and respect, yes even for strangers, is necessary for a civil society. How can we co-exist, much less work together amicably when the working model is “every man/woman for him/herself”?
I’m guilty of it too! Very much so! My threshold for absurdity is so low that I often assume that somebody is acting the fool when they may just be mistaken or oblivious. I guess when consideration is so rarely practiced, it’s easy to justify no longer practicing it yourself. Though I try to be considerate, I sometimes allow the tunnel vision to get the best of me and I can become a real A-hole.
I’m turning over a new leaf! I’m going to make every effort to be more considerate of peoples’ needs. I’m going to go out of my way to practice more random acts of kindness and offer a smile while doing so.
How about the rest of you Firepups? Will you join me in attempting to start a new era of kindness and consideration of others? Even if it doesn’t catch on, it’s bound to make us, (and maybe some other people), just a bit happier. And while you’re thinking about that, how about sharing a few random acts of kindness that you have received or witnessed? Let’s brighten up our Saturday!