When I was a kid, I was taught that when you went to a movie theater or to see a concert or play, you were to be quiet and respectful of the performers and those around you during the performance or movie. Obviously, not everyone was taught this or has remembered to teach it to their kids. The last few family or kids’ movies that I have taken my kids to, there were as many adults as there were kids talking during the movie. And I mean all the way through the movie, as if they were watching in the living room at home. They were completely oblivious to the fact that there were people all around them who were not able to hear lines from the movie because they were talking pretty loudly. I don’t think I was the only person who wanted to say to the parent(s), “You know, you’re not the only family watching this movie. Could you please teach your kids by example not to talk during the movie?” (OK, maybe that was the edited, more polite version of what I was thinking.) The same thing has happened when seeing a play. The lights dim and many adults keep right on talking and then make comments to each other throughout the performance. And the kids follow suit. I can’t help but wonder if these parents are “me” people in other aspects of their lives.
I have this same thought when people block a side street or business entrance with someone clearly waiting to pull in our out, when they could have been considerate and stopped a few feet back. This happens frequently at the entrance to our neighborhood, even though we have two “Do not block side road” signs on either side of the road. I wonder how many people just aren’t paying attention and miss the signs and how many people see them and choose to ignore them. How much later are you going to arrive at your destination of you stop a few feet further back and wait for someone to make a turn? If the light is red, you’re going to be sitting still waiting for it anyway.
Another thing that bugs me is people wearing hats in restaurants, concerts, and other places like that. It’s so commonplace that most people don’t think twice about it. I’m all for being comfortable, but I think we’ve just gotten way too casual and complacent as a society. People used to dress up to go to church and to nicer restaurants, and that was a form of respect. Now it seems any attire is acceptable.
Even the way we speak shows how much we think of ourselves first. My kids and former students will tell you I sometimes pretend I have no idea who they are talking about if they start a sentence with “Me and him” or “Me and her” or “Me and (insert friend’s name)”. The correct grammar is to say, “She and I” or “He and I,” putting yourself last out of respect. I don’t have high hopes of having a huge impact with that, but I still try.
It all comes down to your attitude. Too many people are looking out for themselves first and are doing what is most convenient for them and/or what meets their needs. Our bubbles have become a lot smaller, and we are more focused on ourselves than the people around us whom our actions may be affecting. I really wish more people would focus less on themselves and more on others around them. Common courtesy and respect go a long way in my book.
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