Imagine your child, or your grandchild, going off to school for the first time. It’s natural for us to be anxious; our little one is venturing into the big, bad world, all alone, for the first time. That’s almost as traumatic a time for parents & grandparents, as it is for the child. Still, we take comfort from our parenting skills. And from the values we share with friends & neighbours in our community. It’s a nice school, with respected teachers, who are reliably acting in loco parentis. Everything will be fine.
Until you collect your weeping child at the bus stop!
The gut-wrenching, heart-stopping impact of this moment can be felt by almost every human being. Upon discovering that your child was denigrated by another. Be it for reasons of appearance, affliction, race, religion, or any other cause, the immediate, visceral reaction may be one of extreme anger towards the perpetrator.
But, often, the pain was caused another child. Despite our emotion, we reign in our more agressive instincts & proceed with a more cautious & civil approach. We need to, both, sooth our child, & to address the problem. And in such a manner that it allows both children to move forward, together, in a civil & mutually respectful way.
In just about every sales course I’ve ever attended, or any sales book I’ve ever read, we are cautioned against speaking ill of our competition. Despite that, I’m guessing that most sales people will admit to having uttered a phrase that starts out something like this …
“That’s an interesting point, Ms. Customer, but …”
I should add a little mea culpa at this point, for my own, very rare, transgressions!
How about politics? It almost seems like the norm nowadays, in many countries, is to denigrate & divide. And some of us seem content, perhaps at times gleeful, that this is the case. As a politician, if you can lock in the firm support of a sufficiently large part of the constituency, you have a blueprint for successfully winning, & holding, power. It seems like everything is in play here; truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths, can be all be used. So long as the win is delivered. Sometimes, this is the will of the majority. And that may be democratic. But is it right?
Taking that political logic back to sales; were we to use truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths in the sales environment, would we be more successful? Frankly, if I could win 40 or 50% of the orders in my customer base, by modelling my approach on this political strategy, I would probably win some additional orders in the near term. Sure, half the base wouldn’t be speaking to me. But who cares? I’m still ahead where it matters. Right!?!
It almost feels like we’ve come around to believing that civil discourse is no longer required in our political leaders. Is it still required in our working life? Or in our daily interactions within our communities?
If this is the kind of world we want to live in …
Why do we pretend to teach our children that they should grow up to be nice, kind of heart, generous of spirit, & capable of civil discourse, as adults?
And if this is not the kind of world we want for our children …
We’re an interesting species, are we not? It took a little while for us all to get on the same page with respect to this whole social isolation thing. Thankfully, I think, regard for human life overcame the desire to protect the economy. Most people made it to this perspective, for the most part. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how it unwinds.
If we come up with a vaccine or a cure, better still if we had both, it would be an easier transition back to something resembling normalcy. Perhaps we might even achieve a new, hopefully better, version of normal. It would be nice if we learned from the experience & were better prepared for some future outbreak. Anyone up for improvements & support for our healthcare people & systems at the moment? Might we be a nicer & kinder society afterwards?
The alternative paths are fraught with trepidation. It will be interesting to see what the tipping points might be. And to see who might be trying to put a thumb on the scale along the way. As the virus makes its way through the population, there will be a point where a significant percentage of people will have contracted COVID-19. And recovered. Will this growing group want to remain socially isolated, in order to protect those who have yet to be exposed? At some point, there will be enough of us thinking in a way that might be contrary to our personal feelings on doing what we previously though of as the right thing. The larger the numbers holding such a perspective, the more readily we can join the crowd. While we generally like to see ourselves as loving & kind, sometimes, it is fear that encourages us to be so. Remove the fear for self & our concern for others can diminish too. Replaced by our concerns for our financial health & other matters. Valid concerns, these too.
These days, we are influenced by social influencers on social media. Politicians, musicians, & tacticians from a wide variety places & spaces can get inside our heads. There are so many mounds that can be found to preach a moral story from. Yes, staying home to protect Grandma is valid. So too is getting Jack back to work, so he can feed his family. But what if Jane wants to return to work too, but fears for her life because of an underlying condition? What about making that mortgage payment? Paying the rent? Companies, small & large laying off their people. All devastating worries & legitimate, perspective-altering situations. We can all think for ourselves, of course, but it can’t hurt if we hold on to the better part of our nature, as we make these decisions together.
Individually & collectively, we have some yin & yang going on. In the same way that I can never quite figure out which is the good one, I struggle with trying to figure out if I’m inherently nice, or just being so because it’s serves me better. I have to acknowledge that I would be greatly relieved to find that I’d already had the damn thing & was now immune. But I would, at the very least, wish the same for everyone else. It’s not going to be easy but here’s hoping we can stick with the will of a kind majority, & the rule of law, ’til we get to the other side.
For as long as I’ve been socially isolated though, I’ve had a cough, cold or flu bug. I am doing the social distancing thing by the book. How on earth am I catching these things!?!
One thing I’m not doing well with at the moment is dieting. Tomorrow is the first of a new month & I’m dreading stepping on the scale!
I’m almost questioning my own sincerity now, but I think I hope that you’re all doing okay out there!!! 🤪😉😁
It’s pretty safe to say that we’re all impacted by the coronavirus outbreak now. Many of us are either working from home, or not working at the moment. If we are still fortunate enough to have a paycheck coming, we are concerned about how long that can be sustained for. The kids are off school, or being schooled online. Driving parents crazy in the process! We all have someone that we’re worried about. I have immediate family working in healthcare that I worry about. Family members in foreign countries. And I have moments of anxiety about how I might fare, should I contract the virus. Worry is not conducive to losing weight!
I went, alone, to my favourite big box store last Saturday. They had people at the door, wet wiping the carts for us. And yes, they were antiviral wipes too. I checked. Surprisingly, it might have been a little quieter than a typical Saturday. The shelves were well stocked & the pallets of additional inventory were piled ceiling high. The toilet paper was out of stock though! I filled my cart & went home. Only to be asked if I thought I was out shopping for Christmas!
I’m not allowed to go there alone anymore. Oops! 🤪😁
Yeah, I guess I hadn’t made all good choices for a lockdown. Though cookies & chocolate are good for the soul, aren’t they! I hope I’m not just looking for an excuse to break my diet this month. Though I am struggling to resist comfort food at the moment. I really don’t like baked beans all that much. But I found myself giving in to sausage, beans & chips last night. A favourite from my childhood. Funny, eh?
That said, & despite how terrible this whole situation sometimes feels, there are some great things going on too. Our neighbours are braving the outbreak to show up for work in healthcare, transit services, law enforcement, food supply & a host of other services that are essential for us to get through this. There are acts of kindness being committed that warm the heart. Companies paying people that aren’t working. Landlords forgiving rents. These are not just legal entities, there are kind people there. Hordes of people are volunteering to work at shelters, deliver food, help neighbours. A small tire shop in my old home town offered his time & his van to local charities. Opera singers doing their thing on their balconies. A guy dropping roses on people’s porches on the news this morning. There are a million ways to show kindness. To be nice. And to preserve out faith in humankind & in each other. Besides, just being nice makes us feel so much better.
I remember that wonderful feeling of immortality that comes with being young. Hey, it wasn’t that long ago! It would really help if the young crowd could brandish their immortality online. Instead of on the streets, the bars, & the beaches. I get it. And yes, I’d love to be as bulletproof as you. I am truly envious. But please protect the older folk in your family & neighbourhoods by not doing that just yet. Next time around, we’ll hopefully have vaccines & medication that will fight this thing. But this time, we need to slow it down & manage things a little more carefully. Please.
#PleaseProtectGrandma … & all the grandpas out there!
Hey, if you are a bit less emotional about all of this, try doing something practical that helps. I dunno, maybe buy a few shares in your favourite company & help prop up the market!
At month’s end, I’m not sure how the bathroom scale will be influenced by the coronavirus thing. But I might be more forgiving of my results this one time.
A little busy at the moment (& my diet is going sooo well too … NOT!) but I just feel compelled to reach out to the void sometimes so here’s a quick scribble. Not at all related to weight loss.
I’ve just discovered that going down for a cup of coffee & a cigarette is not a cure for insomnia. Going down for a second round just means you’re up & at it early today.
Here are few things I’ve learned, or relearned, this week, mainly about myself, but see if you can relate …
If you want me to say nice things about you behind your back, then try being nicer to me when we’re face to face. Of course, if I’m just saying things behind your back, you’ll never know, so who cares, right? Next time I see you, I’ll tell you what I really think of you, right to your face. I really think a lot of you, however, so you’ll probably regret not being nicer to me. Sorry!
I’m sometimes inclined to feel sad about things & I’ll think of someone else’s even bigger misfortune by way of leveraging comparitive positivity. Then I’ll feel guilty for doing that & wind up feeling even worse. Today, I think I’ll punish myself by putting a coffee & a sandwich in a coffee shop till for someone who needs it. And then I can spend the rest of the day wondering if that’s just more of the same!?!
Civilisation is but a fragile veneer, easily scratched. It’s sometimes little more than a slender facade covering what lies beneath. Its polish, thankfully, is nothing more than kindness. It only takes a positive bias towards kindness to steer us towards being a little more civil, being a little nicer to each other. I think we probably all have the responsibility to spread a little niceness around every day. I really don’t feel up to it today, however, so I’m hoping you can take on my burden, for me, just for today. Thanks, I really appreciate it.
Good grief, I can hardly believe this but I think I am going to have another coffee!
Is it Friday yet?
Have a good day, all.
And yes, I really mean it!
PS … Sometimes I write drivel & I pause a while before posting. When I reread the above, it sounded like so much drivel that I went down for another coffee & cigarette. Outside, I met a young lad who came down from Canada’s far north for medical treatment. He has broken bones & one eye is black & blue, swollen to the size of a baseball. He is soft spoken, pleasant, & he just feels like a nice human being. He was minding his own business, walking along the street, when he was set upon by two guys with hockey sticks.
I’ve changed my mind & will take back my responsibility for spreading some good today. If enough of us drop kindness pebbles in the pond, maybe we can can create a little current of kindness that will help overcome some of our more terrible inclinations. If you do anything nice today, please let me know. I would like to be re-reminded to keep it up.