Allow me to welcome you inside of my world for the briefest of moments and glimpse the world through my eyes. I’d just finished having a conversation with our Publisher at the newspaper where I work. We were discussing the changes in the younger generation’s values and manners. The topic of “a lack of respect” drew several folks within earshot into the discussion with such remarks as,
“Kids today have no respect for anyone else,” and “They are too preoccupied with themselves.” Someone added, “I think my teenager believes he is the only person who matters on the face of the earth!” I admit that I remember agreeing that there seemed to be too much ‘me’ on the minds of children these days and even added, “When is the last time a kid held a door open for an adult?” Everyone laughed.
As God often does, He opened my eyes just minutes later when I went to the corner store. I parked the car a few spaces from the front door to leave the open spaces for those who might need to be closer. I was even smiling to myself, proud that I had remembered to do just that. What followed was a humbling moment for me.
A young fellow was walking into the store just in front of me and, sure enough, he let the door slam shut. I chuckled and thought, “See! Here is a perfect example of rudeness and a lack of …” Before I could finish that evil thought the door reopened. “Please forgive me; I should have held the door for you to enter first.” What the…?
Are you kidding me?
I stood, frozen in my tracks and then the reporter inside of me bubbled up and I told him, “Don’t move!” I ran to the car and grabbed my camera and snapped his picture.
Laughing, he asked me, “What are you doing?” I explained that I wanted to write a story about him for the local newspaper. I was going to make him a poster boy for the “Good Manners” campaign. He chuckled and said, “My mom is going to love this.”
This is what was printed in the newspaper the following day:
Mild Manners or Lost Values? (photo by Michele Starkey)
Joel Woodley could be like any other 20-something who is attending college, working his way and scraping by earning a meager wage. Joel did something the other day that caught our attention – it wasn’t heroic or even outstanding, it was just a momentary act of awareness and politeness that he extended in a world that is in a hurry to be the first in line and get on with their own life. Joel paused to hold the door for someone.
We at the Sentinel believe that Joel could be the poster boy for a movement that could change America, a movement of good manners. Too often we have witnessed the masses that push and shove, cut-off and fight to be first, those self-absorbed souls who are unconcerned with the rest of humanity. Joel’s momentary polite act of holding the door for the next person who was coming his way should be the way we all live our lives.
We asked Joel why he held the door and he smiled an easy smile and said, “My mother raised me that way.”
We need more parents who are willing to instill these lost values in the lives of our children. We need more mothers and fathers who are willing to teach the virtues of respect, honesty and manners.
I spoke with Joel after the article ran in the paper. I understand that his mother (who lives in North Carolina) is telling everyone about her son’s discovery by one roving reporter whose eyes were opened as quickly as the convenient store’s front door.
Wayne Dyer said , “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
I encourage you to change your view today – it just might change your outlook.