We are in full relocation mode this week but I want to share a post I published on my blog BeingTiff in 2015. The post was originally entitled Operation Common Courtesy. With the state of society and the sadness associated with various situations around the world, I thought it would be a great reminder of the need to demonstrate common courtesy to those around us.
It’s been almost four years since this post was published but I still experience odd looks from people whenever I say “Good Morning” or “Thank You.” But I don’t know their story so I speak and offer a smile of encouragement. If you read this post today and struggle with thoughts of suicide, please contact The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
On Friday I had the honor of hearing the powerful story of a young man who survived what should have been a tragic story of a 19 year old suicide victim. Thankfully it was the story of a survivor, an advocate, an inspiration and a walking success story.
As I sat and listened to his testimony, I was struck by one recurring theme – “what happened to common courtesy?” I can’t do his story justice but I am going to try. This young man sat among and walked among several people of various ages, genders and races and literally cried for help.
Key word, cried.
Everywhere he went he cried. As he walked he cried. As he rode he cried. People pointed people laughed but no one asked him if he was ok. And that was the one phrase he needed to hear. “Are you ok?”
He said to hisself if one person will just ask me if I was ok I won’t go through with killing myself. Again that thought occurred to me, “what happened to common courtesy?” I remember a time in which a person could shed one tear and everyone would stop and ask if you needed anything. I remember when it was unthinkable to walk past a child or woman asking for money for gas or a meal. “What happened to common courtesy?”
It wasn’t until I listened to his story that I remembered when I was pregnant and tried to walk in the door at McDonalds, people would push me out of the way. “What happened to common courtesy?” I was inspired by that testimony and decided to take up his challenge of giving a smile to everyone I meet because it may be the only one they receive. That was easy for me so I decided to make it more challenging, I decided to see if common courtesy was still alive. For the sake of my own challenge, I considered common courtesy to be any of the following:
1. “Good Morning”
3. “How are you? Then actually respond”
4. “Have a great day”
5. “You look nice!”
6. “Are you ok?”
I wish I could say that my challenge experience was positive but I was saddened by the number of people that wouldn’t even return “Good Morning” or “Hello.” I was even more surprised by the odd looks I received just from uttering those words to strangers.
I guess common courtesy is not as common as I thought. Now knowing this unfortunate truth, I plan to keep practicing what I am calling OPERATION COMMON COURTESY. I will model this behavior for my children and put the expectation of a return reply in their minds. Maybe by demonstrating a little compassion, my family may help another hurting person who is thinking to themselves, “If one person asks me how I am doing, I won’t kill myself.”
What about you? Will you choose to join us in OPERATION COMMON COURTESY?
Til next time,
Give a smile to someone today, it may be the one thing they need to keep them going.