While on my bike trainer, watching the Today show on Saturday morning, I saw a disturbing clip from the week of the person elected to lead our country - most of you have probably heard about this by now or may have watched a clip of the exchange: German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, asked Trump “Do you want to have a handshake?” Trump, sitting alongside of Merkel, seemed to hear her, turned a bit from her and faced forward, grimaced, and simply didn’t respond. Awkward! Of course, I don’t know what exchanges had just happened between them or if he actually may not have heard her, but it sure seemed like an intentional dis and certainly not the behavior we would expect from those who are in a leadership position.
Before I go on, I promise my following thoughts are not about politics, but are about behavior.
It seems like even before this current administration, civility has been decreasing in our country, and with this and other current displays, doesn’t appear to be improving. We observe impatience and lack of courtesy toward others on the roadway and perhaps even in the grocery, intolerance of mistakes by others, foul language from all ages in front of all ages, people talking loudly on their phones in public spaces, just to name a few – and yes, Trump not shaking Merkel’s hand!
I just didn’t observe this behavior when I was younger. What is happening? Is it because we are hurried or stressed? Fearful? Impatient? Uncaring? What is this demand of entitlement? Immediate reactions or gratification need? What is the exclusivity all about? How did we become in such a hurry? How did we become so intolerant and so easily offended? I’m mostly concerned about the lack of courtesy becoming normalized, and thereby kindness toward others becoming lost. I really don’t think this is the direction we want to go in!
With every exchange, we have an opportunity to demonstrate kindness.
We only have control over our own thoughts and behavior. Let’s take control by slowing down and reminding ourselves to stay mindful of the beautiful characteristics of grace, kindness, courtesy, respect, and civility. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t feel good about myself when I act in any other way.
Remember that we are all in this together…with every interaction, we are either contributing to building or tearing down.
Which side do you choose to be on?