About the importance of respect and kindness

While running our errands…

Last week, during our weekly shopping tour to the grocery store we became the centre of a weird situation. I was putting items out of the shopping cart onto the cash desk when I became aware of an old man right behind us. He had only a few things in a tiny cardboard box and I asked him if he wanted to go first. Kind of a common thing to do if you ask me. But not so for the old man. He was so grateful, even overwhelmed, that he gave us a pack of chocolate as a thank you. I tried to give it back and said that it is a natural thing to do, but he insisted and left the building leaving my man and me behind. Speachless.

Are respect, courtesy and kindness dead?

I thought, why was he so grateful? I mean, our act wasn’t really outstanding. Only a small gesture. But then, maybe it is an outstanding thing to do nowadays. At least for the old man. I may say, that he was a foreigner and therefore, maybe he isn’t that used to friendly gestures.  I can only guess, but I think my assumption isn’t that farfetched. I really do think the old man had a hard time living in Austria. I have the feeling, he has been treated badly on several occasions in the past.

A great part of my experiences and observations have told me one thing: there are too many people out there who have never heard of words like „charity“, „courtesy“, “respect” or „kindness“. Too many people are acting on motivation like „envy“, „greed“ and the pursuit of defrauding somebody.

The human kind behavior: Just a few examples

Sounds too harsh? I don’t think so. Just imagine a world where not money, profit seeking and more money ruled the economy and our environment. I am sure, there wouldn’t be any species in danger of distinction, because humans wouldn’t feel the urge to hunt whales only for their fat, sharks only for their fins, elephants only for their tusks or tigers for their fur. I could continue endlessly.

Those are drastic examples of wrong motivation but lack of kindness has sown a seed of toxic atmosphere in our world. I can feel it every day when I take a step out of our house. Honking cars, swearing bikers, grumpy pedestrians, unfriendly waiters, frustrated shopkeepers, etc.. Again, I could continue endlessly.

Attempts of improvement

I am thinking a lot about what to make responsible for this situation. In the end, we are responsible for a successful living together. I have started years ago with doing a good deed every day. Therefore, I pay attention. I listen, and I mean, really listen. I am asking people how they are doing. I do favours. I say thank you. I say hello when entering a room. I am friendly to foreigners. I give people in need my seat in the train. I elevate dropped things and hand them to the person who lost it. I am treating everyone the way I want to be treated.

It could be so easy. So easy.

It wouldn’t take that much to make small gestures of kindness a common thing and sow a seed for a better future, for a badly needed change. Unfortunately, so it seems, too many people would have to surmount their pride. Therefore, I am not that optimistic a change could actually happen. But I at least give it a try. I know there are a lot of people who think like I do and maybe it is going to be enough for a change into a friendlier environment.

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