December 7, 2008
Listen to Life:  Good Manners  
I don't like crowds; I like less the crowds that swarm during the holidays.  People are rude, pushy, self-indulgent, or, at least the ones who express anything tend to be.  The quiet folks are probably polite and unselfish about the space around them and the merchandise on the shelves.  But, you don't hear them.  Yesterday, I encountered a crowd full of "excuse me," "pardon me," "sorry," "after you" and other signs of common courtesy.  Music to my ears.
I was at a gun show.  My first.
Certainly there are dozens of jokes why people in a room full of guns would be polite to each other, but the truth is that this cast of characters-and I do mean there were some characters there-were uttering the unspeakable:  courtesy.  I had forgotten how good it sounds to hear "please," "thank you," "excuse me" and "pardon me" from strangers.
I suspect we all complain about the loss of common courtesy and respect among people.  We complain to our friends and perhaps snap at someone who is particularly rude in public.  Another approach is to say something positive, hold the door for someone, allow someone into traffic, etc.  These ideas are neither brilliant nor unique, but they are generally not remembered, either.  When you say something polite and hear a similar reply, it is an affirmation.  Don't wait for others; initiate and wait for the echo.

A free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2008 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

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