“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. “ Matthew 5:16
Manners and etiquette seem non existent nowadays. People are too much in a hurry to just be nice to one another. I have been subbing at a school, watching the students when they are at break and lunch. On one of those days during the week, I get the wonderful job of directing parents during pick up after school. My job is to direct parents to pull up their vehicles, to allow the cars to flow through the parking lot. How difficult could this be? You have to follow the good old driving laws of the DMV. This particular day, I noticed, the cars were not moving. I could see that some people were crossing and assumed that is why no one was driving through. I soon realized I had a parent, park her car in the red and get out of her car and walk into the office. I walked over and stood by her car. She came out of the office and saw me standing there. I calmly asked her to please pull all the way up in the line or find an empty parking space because she was blocking other parents from passing through. She rolls her eyes at me and muttered some expletive. I smiled my biggest Cheshire cat smile I would muster and told her, “oh thank you so much, have a nice day” while I was mentally coming up with my own expletives. As she pulled into her space, her child came out. I saw it was a child that constantly causes problems and is super rude. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
On the flip side of this several years ago, I was shopping in a Carter’s clothing store. This store seems to bring out the worse in toddlers. They slip out of their strollers and start running through the store, hiding in the clothes rack or pulling items off shelves. This place had a germ garden, well actually, we know them as a play center, where they can play with trains, knobs and pulls or random Lego pieces. This one mother was holding her young son. He began to wiggle, then straighten himself and slip through her arms, like Houdini and start running towards the play center. Instead of yelling at him to come back to her or to stop, like I would have, she calmly said to him, “Be a blessing!” He stopped and turned back towards her and waited for her. He could not have been more than 3 years old. Yet his mother began to teach him about how his actions affect other people. I realized in that moment, how important this was, not just to young children, but for everyone, including me!
We cannot make people be nice or polite, but we can certainly be a model of that behavior. Have you noticed, when you do an act of kindness, people are surprised, confused or wanting to know what is your agenda? Regardless, I have chosen every day to do something nice or be a blessing to someone, stranger or not. Sometimes, I get no reaction, but most times, I receive smiles or a compliment. My pastor says, “If Jesus was walking the earth today, He would give you a hug and let you know you were loved.” I am sure not everyone would appreciate getting hugged, but a smile and friendly action would maybe make their day.
“Dear Heavenly Father, this world gets more mean and frightening every day. Remind me that I am your hands and feet and that you want everyone to know they are valuable and loved. Help me to be a blessing. Create a generation that wants to show kindness. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”