Posts Tagged ‘civility


no more mr. nice guy

I recently went to a riverside baptism service held by one of the megachurches in our area. It was a gorgeous summer afternoon and I definitely felt the spirit movin’ over the water as I pulled into the parking lot. What I didn’t feel movin’ was the love. As I strolled through the crowd to find my family members, I was quite surprised by the pronounced lack of interaction from anyone to me. No one attempted to make eye contact, let alone a salutation, which I thought was very strange, especially from church folk!

I might have thought it was my imagination until I unfolded my lawn chair and asked the lady next to me if she minded that I plop down right beside her. “My goodness”, she exclaimed, “of course you can! I was beginning to think that I was invisible!!”

It was then that I realized that I was not the only one who felt this way. One by one, the newly baptized got up and shared their stories of love and acceptance. Some of the speakers were the very same people who had silently brushed past me less than an hour before. Now I’m not trying to be judgmental, but we all need to be aware of the basic rules of society. And we especially need to be aware of these rules if we claim any affiliation with Jesus.

Pay attention. Look at people who come your way. Open your mouth and smile and say words that form a greeting. Now I know this may be difficult for introverts, but I promise the more you do it the easier it becomes. Parents, teach your children how to greet other children and adults. I am amazed by how many kids say absolutely nothing when I greet them and their parents make no attempt to guide them through the process.

I learned how to meet people by watching my father. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I could NOT walk by someone and not smile and say hello. It’d be like walking past a Major General without saluting. The art of salutation is becoming lost; the most basic human interaction of giving someone a smile and looking them in the eye. This is a darn shame on many different levels.

If only people understood the transformational power of a smile. I once got selected for a key position for which I was underqualified because of my ability to enthusiastically interact with people. No matter how healthy, wealthy or wise you become, if you don’t have the skills of common courtesy, the only thing people will remember is that you’re a horse’s arse. After all, people don’t care what you know until they know you care, and the only thing they’ll ever remember about you is how you made them feel.


Are you freer than you were four years ago?

The Fourth of July. A time when we celebrate our independence as a nation. It is a time for us to celebrate our patriotism, our freedom from oppression, and our love of all things individual. Our freedom and our democracy with which we have been blessed are direct products of the sheer determination of our forefathers who worked to establish the United States of America as a free country.

Freedom of choice?

We have a choice to be wealthy or poor. We have the choice to live a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy one. We have a choice to be agnostic or religious. We each have every opportunity to live our lives as we see fit. Equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcome. Those who achieve more are vilified, unless they are in sports or the entertainment industry. If you have ever run a business and not had to fire someone, lay someone off, or get hauled to  court, I’m not sure you even showed up for work.

Are we even in the business of celebrating the individual? Seems anybody that is different than what we think, what we earn, and what we look like is the enemy. Differences have come to reflect “evil”. We are less united as a nation; partisan politics has made our common bond a distant memory.

I can remember the first time I saw the Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It still scares the bejesus out of me, the thought of a huge hive where any bit of individualism has been assimilated into one collective consciousness. But as we give our individual freedoms to a collective bureaucracy, this is exactly what is happening to us.

Free to disagree?

I shied away from the debate club as a teen because I could never vehemently argue one side of an argument. I could always see the other person’s point of view. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” If you listen to the news, or read the blogs, we have no first-rate minds. And they definitely don’t want you to have a first-rate mind either. You can tell by the tone and spin in their “investigative” journalism. That’s not news, that’s entertainment.

Have a different set of morals than me? I’ll coil up and bite you by spreading venomous lies and hissing vulgarities about you. I’ll make you and your family a parody on comedy sketches so everyone can laugh at how ignorant you are. And yet we are busy wringing our hands over the escalating problem of childhood bullying, refusing to acknowledge that they are direct reflections of the adults in, or out, of their lives.

I used to love the days when I could carry on a discussion with someone who had a completely different viewpoint than myself without it degenerating into snide tones, and unsubstantiated quips. Don’t agree with me? You must be phobic, an idiot, a pathetic loser, or just a jackass. Sounds real grown up, doesn’t it?

Do we have to tolerate fools gladly?

During my time in the military, I lived in many different countries. There are governments that do not respect individual freedoms, liberties, or the basic equalities that we take for granted in America. I, like every other service member, took an oath to defend these rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

With the influx of foreign nationals into our country, we see that some of these intolerances have made their way onto our soil. Some groups demand that we respect their laws and religious ideals, but refuse to respect those of others. Their way is the only way so your freedom of choice is dictated by them.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali said, “Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” Tolerating others’ injustices to basic human rights isn’t respecting another nation’s sovereignty or religious beliefs, it’s just wrong.

This Fourth of July remember, while we are still free to do so, that we truly must live free or die; that if we’re all thinking alike, nobody is thinking; and that suffering fools gladly is madness.

Tremendous Tracey

CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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January 2021

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