It’s 3 days before Christmas and the malls and streets are packed. Yet, for the most part, people are actually being quite civil. Makes a person feel that the world is improving one person at a time. Call me an eternal optimist but I think this year civility will last longer than December 25th.
Civility – politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech and basically showing concern for others makes a positive difference in the world. It is not innate but a learned (taught) behavior. Even as adults we can work at demonstrating a little more politeness in our exchanges. But when I see it in action in teenagers especially, I think to myself ‘Some mom or dad applied their parenting skills to the ultimate. They took the time necessary as their children were growing up to be sure they learned the importance of manners and respecting the rights of others. Basically, they taught their children to make the world a little better place.
I have had the chance to watch two 17 year olds over the last few months – up close and personal – and I just sit up a little straighter and smile a bit more broadly when ‘older folks’ comment to me about what great teenagers they are…l respond with a polite thank you and add, ‘Yes, their Mom did a great job.’
It is so easy to make assumptions about teenagers in general. Yes, they have interests different than our own. They listen to music we may not relate to at a decibel level that may cause us to wonder if they will end up with permanent hearing damage but…beyond all that… they are just trying to grow and become loving human beings. They are like the stages of a butterfly, they grow from a caterpillar, shedding their skin, through the chrysalis stage in which they are pushing at the confines of their environment to the ultimate beautiful butterfly stage where they begin to think of migrating and starting their new adult life. Each stage offers challenges and opportunities for lessons of love along their life journey. These life stages are so challenging for them. Yet, patience, love and understanding go a long way to help them on their path.
The next time you get a chance to observe our younger generation watch them and remember they are struggling to make sense of their ever changing world. Many hold the door for others…step aside for a family and somehow remember to say thank you even when they are viewed with questions. Like everything in life, what we look for and the assumptions we bring to the table we usually find!
I have seen civility in action with this younger generation and I am so grateful for them.
Have a wonderful Christmas!