Consider The Difference

Tue. July 17, 2007 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard

When I start the process of writing this article I ask one simple question; "what's on my heart to share?" I've given much thought as of late to a pet peeve of mine; the issue of being considerate of others! Funny enough I've been hit (literally) with the dilemma of people not taking others (their lives, situations, feelings, etc,) into thought. One would think that this is part of who we are as humans. I beg to differ! I have the opinion that it's time for a tune up in this area!

Just the other day, I was walking from the Addison train station to my home. I make this trek differently each day as I like to spice up the walk. On this particular day, I had decided to walk up to Halsted and take a right. This way would allow me to say hello to my favorite pal Ryan Yoder at Lakeview Broadcasting Co. As I was walking someone said hello to me, and we started a conversation. As we approached the last alleyway before Halsted and a guy on his bike ran over my foot and over my friend's foot without so much as an apology. He just went on with his ride. I was more shocked at his complete and total disregard for the wellbeing of others, than I was for his running over us. Did he not feel bad? Was he not aware that he just took part in a hit and run? Needless to say, it threw me for such a loop, I turned and walked down the alley or what I sometimes call the "cry way". ( See : A perfect place to walk down Halsted street if you don't want to be seen by others or viewed crying)

This blatant disregard for others seems to be the norm these days. The commute to my office the other day was next to a man who thought that the two person seat was more his than anyone else's. Sure, he was a little stocky, but that was no excuse for him to keep his legs spread wide open! Did he not take into consideration that someone on the busy train would need to sit down? As I sat there scrunched and frustrated, I saw a girl with a lot in her hands. Surly this skinny girl would fit right in my seat. So I offered it to her; "Would you like my seat ma'am?" Her response was one of being offended at being called ma'am. "I'm not that old!" she snarled. When I tried to explain that I meant no offence but was only trying to be polite, she rebuked me for insinuating that she was old. As I sat there thinking about the amazing upbringing that my parents provided me, I felt that I was damned no matter what I did. The truth though was that I did what was right; even if it was misunderstood. Now that is something I could feel good about! ( Note : Ladies 45 and under would prefer not to be called ma'am at any time. They feel it's an insult.) ( Side note :If you ever meet my Mom and call her anything other than ma'am when you meet her, it is not polite!)

I guess I was raised to believe that others were to come before me. When I was a kid, my God-fearing Mother always used to say, "Jesus, O thers, and Yourself!" as a reference to the true nature of joy! Through her faith she knew then what I hope we will all embrace today; the needs and feelings of others are truly important for us to acknowledge and place priority on!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but consider others better than you ! So many times I have a personal agenda or goal in mind that clouds my vision of others. Where I think it is really important to have those missions in our lives, I would encourage us to never have them at the expense of others. I get so preoccupied with what's important to me that I don't fully think of others feelings, desires, or goals. This selfish attitude will get us nowhere. Perhaps it is wise to always have the question " How will this effect others? " in our minds.

Step out of your comfort zone and reach out to people in their need . When someone asks you how are you doing, it's usually said as a greeting not and inquiry on your well being. Perhaps we should be asking that question of people more to the point. We all would love it if someone were to take the time to ask us how things are going in various circumstances! Why not make someone's day by doing just that! My friend Virginia Jones told me the other day how she was heading to her boyfriends' house in a wretched Chicago storm. The rain was going in every direction and she had a good ten minute walk ahead of her. She decided to wait at the bus station until it let up. Worrying about her wellbeing, her boyfriend biked all the way down to bring her an umbrella and escort her back to his place. He didn't have to do that. He could have stayed dry and comfortable. He chose to show consideration! Sure, it's easier to do that with someone we love or care about, but how about the bank teller, bus driver or co-worker? We all have needs and we can all reach out.

Get rid of the "I" and replace it with "We" I think this is a matter of choice. It is really natural for me to look out for number one. Me! I try on a daily basis to change that natural thinking with the idea of looking out for others. ( Note : This is not advice to place your needs and issues aside. We should deal with those as well. I am talking about balance here.) Here are some examples:

-Letting someone else have the seat on the train.
-Holding the door for a person to go before you.
-Helping someone when they clearly need some assistance.
-Moving out of someone's way.
-When someone drops something, helping them pick it up.
-Being honest if someone over pays you.
-Not talking on the phone on the train.
-Moving out of someone's way.
-Bringing in afternoon treats to your co-workers for no other reason than just because!

Just the other day I was listening to someone complain about their work environment and how it seemed that everyone was only looking out for themselves. I shared with them the I/We suggestion and they looked at me like I was crazy. Could it be that we as a society have lost this team approach ? Whether you give a helping hand to the latte lady or your little sister, or share the burden with your best friend or bartender; it's an opportunity to make a little difference in someone's life!

CHALLENGE : I would like to encourage you to pause as you go about your day and identify the "little things" that people do that are inconsiderate. Notice how it makes people feel and see how they react. Then, take the extra moment to Consider others in your path. Make a game of how many you can encourage. Help someone out at the gym; talk with someone standing by themselves at the club; let someone cut in front of you in line. (I know that's a biggie!) Some would call this going out of your way or above and beyond; I call it Making A Difference !