REFLECTION: One of the roads we frequently travel during the early morning rush is under construction. At the best of times, it can be quite a wait for a break in the traffic large enough to make that right turn at the Stop sign and get up to speed. Now that construction has narrowed the road from two lanes to one, things have changed.
There is still just as much traffic as before. What’s different is that all those vehicles are now trying to thread the needle through a single lane, so it’s even more nonstop than before. But, no longer is the wait interminable.
You don’t wait at that Stop sign for long, until a driver on the main road slows to a crawl and motions you to pull into the space created. And, once one person makes that gesture of kindness, most who trail behind follow suit. What was previously a Stop and Hope intersection morphs into a Merge and Wave demonstration of civility.
In our world, there’s lots of attention paid to ‘civil disobedience’ – raucous demonstrators and riots in the streets. However, not much attention is paid to civil obeisance – those everyday simple gestures of deference and respect that turn our world into a friendlier place.
ACTION: The most amazing thing about the whole phenomenon is that it only takes one. One person has the thought, and leads by example. And, once shown the way, others are quick to follow.
Despite the frantic pace and hectic busyness of our world and our lives, there are countless daily opportunities for us to shift the pace and show some grace.
Are we making space, holding doors, or extending thanks. Are we saying: “You go first! I’ll carry that for you! Let me give you a hand!”
What opportunity will you take or make to demonstrate a little civil obeisance in your world today?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: There are lots of application for smart phones out there – many focused on speed and efficiency. Here’s one focused on presence and calm. Check out the labyrinths at iPause.
This post was written by Pat Katz on November 8, 2011