Monday, February 6, 2012


     Some people in helping professions are not particularly helpful. There are restaurant servers who seem genuinely annoyed when we ask them for things. There is a rolling-eyes kind of reaction to our relatively simple requests. And then there is the whole breed of customer service representatives that we encounter by phone. They tell us things that make no sense at all, and are absolutely unwilling to compromise or negotiate or discuss. They effectively agree with us that what they're telling us is completely unreasonable, but they insist that there is nothing to be done. That's when we ask to speak to a manager- who sometimes is helpful, and sometimes is not. There is too much inefficiency and insanity in the service industry to even begin to name it.
     Instead, let's celebrate those who help us without an attitude, and those who have high levels of integrity. Let's recognize their positive approach and genuine desire to be helpful, and thank them for their service. It's a rare thing in today's world and deserves our appreciation.
     And let's take it a step further and consider how helpful we are with those who seek out our guidance. Are we visibly exasperated if we're interrupted at an inopportune moment? Do we try to pawn them off onto someone else? Do we fail to respond entirely? Or do we give freely and willingly and with courtesy and kindness?
     We live in culture where we are all of us too busy to be bothered. And yet, if we slow down just long enough to engage our compassion, we might find that it makes us feel good about ourselves to be good to others. They're worth it. We're worth it, and we both benefit from the helpful exchange and the shared human experience.

I am willing to put my exasperation and busyness down and be helpful to others, and to treat them with respect and consideration- even if I'm tired, and even if it's not exactly the way I would have chosen to spend my time.