I’ll be the first to admit our culture has become too PC. I heard this morning there is Principal in Oregon complaining PB&J’s are culturally insensitive because so many cultures don’t eat regular bread. Huh? Ok – that’s a bit much. Put it on tortillas, pitas, bagels – whatever you want its still PB&J . You wasted news time for this?
I think the flip side of PC-overload is that people have forgotten some of the basics. Or in some cases just flat out ignore them. But c’mon people, a little kindness never hurt anyone and a little more of it could do all the world some good. I have sudden flashbacks to a bunch of people standing around with Coca-colas singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing…”
1) Say Good Morning. If you say it enough it just might actually be a good morning. Say it to the barista, the drive-thru guy, the toll booth attendant. They are already at their jobs and working to see that you get to yours – the least you can do is greet them nicely. ESPECIALLY say it to your immediate co-workers. Not only because you spend all day with these people, but it also gives you a chance to gauge their mood. If they grouse back “what’s good about it?” then you might want to slap a doughnut in their face and tell them to get back to you when the sugar high kicks in.
2) Say Thank you. Someone gives you something, allows you to cut in line, holds the door or elevator for you, picks up something you dropped – Thank Them! Now chances are when you do this for someone else they will forget whatever their mother taught them and not thank you for your efforts. Say “you’re welcome” anyway – throw them off balance and remind them of their rudeness at the same time.
3) Cleanliness and hygiene. Take care of your messes. Wipe a counter if you spill the coffee. Pick up the paper that didn’t make the trashcan. Keep your desk from looking/smelling like a bio-hazard area. Please flush. Enough said.
Not everyone is going to be nice in return – there are true cultural differences, bad moods, and some people are just jerks you would rather avoid. It happens. But just maybe the small kindnesses make a difference in someone’s day, in your overall attitude, and add up to bigger changes down the line.
We could all still end up in a field, Cokes in hand, having a party where everyone is invited – so long as they greet you when they arrive, say thanks when you hand them a bottle, clean up their messes and don’t mind that we are serving PB&Js on white bread.