Last week I took my first trip without my daughters in seven years. It is hard to believe that I have not flown alone in such a long time. Since I spent a lot of time at the airport (and on airplanes) without having to focus my attention on changing diapers, or having to soothe a crying toddler, I had a lot of time to people watch. I noticed certain behaviors that I certainly want to teach my daughters NOT to have. Here they are.
You feel yourself to be so important that you do not even have the courtesy say thank you to the people providing you a service. It was unbelievable to me how many people would jump on and off a shuttle bus, have the attendant help them with their bags, and then not even say thank you. Some did not even acknowledge their existence. The lesson for me as a parent: teach my daughters that everyone is a person. Everyone that you have an interaction with, no matter how small of an interaction, deserves to be looked at in the eye and they deserve a “good morning” or a “thank you”.
You are so impatient, that it does not matter that there is half a plane of people still waiting to get off, you will still stand up and hover over somebody’s personal space. It was almost comical how despite the fact that we were going nowhere, the people from the row behind me still found the need to crowd into my row. I understand the concept of getting your bags ready so that when it is your turn, you are ready to go. However, to hover over me for fifteen minutes as we wait for the rest of the plane to unload is ridiculous. Get your bags ready, and sit back down until it is your turn. If you find the need to stand, then stand in your row, not mine. Lesson for me as a parent: teach my daughters to wait patiently.
Chivalry is dead. Never mind chivalry, just the basic idea of assisting your fellow human being is becoming rarer and rarer. This was especially true among the younger crowd. They are so plugged in and so unaware of their surroundings, that they would never know if someone was struggling or needed help. Maybe they just did not care. That was sad. In a place such as an airport, where there are so many opportunities to lend a hand, I hardly saw that take place. Instead, I saw people struggling to lift heavy bags with crowds surrounding them, but no one that would step in to offer assistance. I saw people lost, not knowing what to do or where to go, and instead I saw them receive impatient looks. Lesson for me as a parent: teach my daughters to unplug and always look for opportunities to brighten someone’s day.
I don’t want to say that I never saw an act of kindness. I did witness a few of them and I was thankful for them. There was the people that helped a young woman find a place to put her bag when the overhead compartment was full. There was that older gentleman that tipped and thanked the man that offloaded his bags of the shuttle. What was striking for me was that these acts seemed out of the norm. I pray that God will keep me humble, keep me smiling, and give me more opportunities to lend a helping hand.