Thursday, November 26, 2009
A Plea for Civility
It's Thanksgiving Day and we should all take time for our families, our mental health, and a pause from the pressures of the modern world. As I've told my staff, it's been a typical Fall - we go from the doldrums of Summer to a sprint post Labor Day with numerous urgent (and sometimes unplanned) projects.
This takes a personal toll. Tempers can flare, and patience can run thin. Civility disappears.
What do I mean by civility?
Webster's calls it "civilized conduct; especially courtesy, politeness"
How was your drive to work yesterday? Put another way - what is the shortest unit of measurable time? Answer - the time between the light turning green in front of you and the person honking behind you.
Did people stop for pedestrians in crosswalks? Did they let you into merging traffic? Did they stop at yellow lights to keep intersections clear and prevent gridlock?
If you boarded a flight yesterday, did passengers wait until their seats or zones were called before standing in line? Did they check their steamer trunk sized bags so that there was plenty of room in the overhead bins for others with smaller carry ons? Did the person in front of you avoid reclining their seat so that you could have a more enjoyable flight?
I realize that more people are competing for fewer resources and the economy is less than robust. That does not mean we have to turn each day into our own personal Lord of the Flies.
It is my hope that as we enter the holiday season, the pace will slow and we'll be able to do our work in a predictable way, with the scope, resources and timelines we need to get them done.
Today, raise a toast to the good things we have in life - family, wellness, and the boundless opportunity to make the world a better place. Let's use the Thanksgiving weekend to renew our spirits, prepare for the challenges ahead, and regain our civility.
I'm off to roast the squash and carve the Tofu.
Posted by John Halamka at 6:00 AM