Signs of the Revolution – A smile and the Thanks Dude wave

I'm just sayin'

Picturing our bright, polite future

Let’s ride the post-fourth patriotic buzz and start to fundamentally change our country TODAY. How? Respect and good manners. Sounds ridiculously simple, but believe me, this is some powerful medicine. Your world will instantly change as you begin to create the world we want to live in.

Manners and common courtesy are disappearing at a time when we need them most. They tell us how to behave when we are interacting with strangers. Sound familiar? We spend MOST of our time surrounded by strangers, yet when is the last time you witnessed a courteous interaction? Chivalry is dead ya’ll. It’s been bleeding by the side of the road for years, no one bothered to stop and help, we are all too busy and self involved.

Treating each other well in every situation

Oprah did a show on manners last year. They started with a poll of audience members. The results: Eighty percent of Americans think rudeness is a serious national problem, but 99 percent of the same people say that they themselves are not rude. Uh, wha? So we all think there is a problem, but none of us are part of it. Sounds about right.

Choosing Civility by Dr. Forni asserts that modern society is structured in a way that actually amplifies and encourages incivility.

“We are stressed, we are fatigued and we are in an anonymous environment. Stress and anonymity are two very, very common causes of rudeness…Especially when they are together, like in traffic.”

There is an excellent excerpt from his book on Oprah’s website, I highly recommend reading all of it, as well as the summary for Oprah’s show Mind your Manners. Dr. Forni believes:

The quality of our lives is about treating each other well in every situation. We are all the trustees of one another’s happiness and well-being in life.

Respectful Persons Principle

I have seen very rude people use manners when it is to their advantage. This is the guy that is overly nice to the person on the phone until he realizes that person can not help him, and then, the manners disappear and the true personality comes out. Those are not manners, that is manipulation. This is not about using the right words to get your way, this is about carrying yourself in a way that brings out the best in others.

Dr. Forni says:

The principle of respectful persons is the principle upon which all ethical systems have been based from the beginning of humanity, since certainly the last 2,000 years…[The principle] says that we ought to treat others as ends in themselves rather than as beings for the satisfaction of our own immediate needs and desires.

Oprah adds: “I also can’t stand it when people are rude to service workers because I think you show who you are by how you treat people who are serving you.” Tru dat, Oprah, tru dat!

You have to give respect to get respect

I have excellent manners, it was part of my upbringing. When I went into teaching, I appreciated the more formal way of addressing people, as a way of giving respect to those around you. I used them with the higher-ups, but more importantly, I used them with parents and students. All of the sudden, like magic, our interactions became more successful. They started showing their best side, when I began showing mine. Turns out, people really respond to being treated with dignity and respect.

Since my teaching days, I address all people as sir or ma’am. (Unless they are young, then I call them sweetie.)  I say excuse me when I pass in front of someone at the store and I greet all people with “Good morning” or a smile every day, no matter my mood. (In fact, saying “Good morning” when you’re grumpy actually makes you less grumpy, but you didn’t hear that here.) And since I’ve begun treating the world so well, it’s never treated me better.

We are the better days

So start it now. Be that person that shows grace and kindness no matter the circumstances. Acknowledge those around you, whether it’s your neighbor, grocery store checker or mail carrier. Say hello, give a polite wave. Interact with the humanity around you.

When an older person is having trouble in line in front of you, help them. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Give the Thanks Dude wave when someone lets you in on the freeway. Hell. Be the person that lets someone in on the freeway!

The three rules of civil behavior

Dr. Forni says these three things rules of civil behavior will radically change your quality of life and positively affect the environment in which we all live. These rules cost you nothing and can be implemented as soon as you finish reading this post.

1. Pay attention

2. Acknowledge others

3. Think the best

Create the world you want for us all

Our isolation and anonymity is destroying our communities.  It leaves us lonely and disconnected from the world all around us. It’s allowed the rude, aggressive people to dominate while us gentle spirits throw up our hands, hoping for better days. We are the better days. We make them, they don’t just happen.

You don’t want to live in this rude, self-absorbed, negative environment any more that I. So help me. Right now and for the rest of the day. And tomorrow too. And for the days that come. We have to start creating the world we want to live in! Start it NOW, with a smile, Good Morning, and of course, the Thanks Dude wave on the freeway. You’ll be amazed at the results.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lorraine
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 01:23:20

    Inspiring words… you have a flair for this!!


  2. linda
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 10:51:51

    The Mona Bonita..I dare say. What is she thinking?


  3. Trackback: No woman, no cry « Bonita Appleblog

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