As 2014 dawns on us, it is time we band together to do all those things in the upcoming year to make our society the greatest the world have ever known. And it will only take a few quick tweaks of our current ways of being to make that dream a reality. Thus, this year, as a society, we shall resolve to do these things:
- We will get a move on. When we are walking across a parking lot and a car kindly stops and waves us ahead, we will skedaddle across that parking lot and get out of the way, rather than saunter as if in slow motion.
- We will return our carts. When we reach our car following a grocery visit, we will return our grocery cart to a grocery cart corral or even – gasp! – the store, because doing so makes you the kind of person society needs.
- We will make a difference. When November rolls around, we will vote. And the best part of it – we will have read multiple sources about the upcoming election and learned not only about the candidates for big time races, but whether we’re in favor of the local ordinance of, say, whether or not to have tattoo parlors open up inside daycares.
- We will research. Before we post something on Facebook or Twitter or nail it to the local coffee house wall, we will do a little bit of searching to see if maybe, just maybe, the hyperbolic extreme death knell we’re about to post is maybe, just maybe, a heaping helping of untruth.
- We will acknowledge that other people exist on the planet, in particular in front of store doors. See, when you’re walking through a door, if you recognize that other humans may be walking in behind you, magic happens. That magic? It’s also known as common courtesy.
- We will embrace a stranger. Once a week, we vow that we will share a kind word to a stranger we encounter who is having the masses turn on them. The worn out mother with a raucous crew of kids in a restaurant and has most every eye in the joint cutting judgmental looks at her? A gentle, “Hats off to you for being a patient mom.” The Starbucks clerk whose computer just crashed and has an unruly mob barking at her about things out of her control? Try, “If the worst thing that happens to us today is our Hazelnut Macchiato takes a few minutes extra, our life is fairly good.”
- We will have perspective about our kids’ future pro sports potential. Let’s be realistic here: neither your kids nor mine will probably play pro sports. That’s simple statistics. So after the game, following your kid’s soccer team getting trounced 12-2, why not tell the coach “Hey, thanks for giving all this time to our kids” rather than question his strategy involving a bunch of 8-year-olds running around the pitch.
- We will ask to speak to a manager. But not just when the service stinks. When we get exceptional service at a restaurant or store, we will make a point of sharing it with that person’s supervisor. Hey, top secret fact: praise for a job well done encourages continuation of said well done job.
- We will embrace the arts. And if we don’t think singing, painting, dancing, acting, playing music, etc. helps to build a better total person, we will stop, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves exactly what is wrong with us for having such a thought.
- We will take a deep breath. Cut off in traffic? Upset by someone’s Facebook post? Person in 15 Items of Fewer checkout lane with seven full cartloads? We will relax. OK, not on the third one. You can still be enraged in 2014 at that. It’s not hard to count to 15, and, no, you can’t count the entire cartload of canned goods as one item (“It’s just cans!”). That’s cheating and you know it.
That’s a fairly easy list of things that we can do together. I’m in, as I’m sure you are. Now, off to grab a coffee. The line better not be moving slowly…
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.