Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Civility Goes A Long Way

My town's post office is a tiny building with limited, awkwardly-angled parking. Three steps lead up to a wooden door that opens outward...extremely user-unfriendly, particularly if one is carrying a bulk mail bin, a package, or a young child.

The other day as I was leaving the post office and crossing the parking lot to my car, I noticed a man approaching and carrying two mid-sized boxes. I stopped and said to him, "Let me go and grab that door for you." As I proceeded back towards the steps leading to the front door, he called to me. "Really, Miss, no need to do that. I can manage."

Now, I frequent the post office quite a bit, often carrying packages and boxes of books to be mailed out. I know how cumbersome it is to juggle what I'm holding while pulling open a rather heavy door  -- a door, mind you, that has no window, so you never know if someone is about to exit from inside.

"Really, it's no problem," I said to the gentleman as I continued towards the door.

As I held open the door for him he stopped and smiled widely. "Thank you," he said. "It's refreshing to know there is least a little civility left in this world."

While driving home I pondered his remark. I tend to think of civility as good citizenship or orderly behavior, a definition derived more from its original usage. However, the gentleman was referring more to the word's current usage, that is, courtesy in behavior and speech.

Since the shooting tragedy in Arizona, where nineteen people were shot and six murdered, talk of "civility" has been plentiful. But what about actions? My small action seemed to resonate with this man on a deeper level. I wondered if his non-Caucasian ethnicity meant he elicited less courtesy and respect from others?

We cannot rely solely on the actions of others to make this world a better place. Each of us must commit to taking small "civil" steps each day...through our words and through our actions. Civility is it spread.

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday." ~ Sally Koch

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this Rita. It is such a simple step, yet one that is so very inspirational in a world that often seems consumed with itself.