Why is it so much easier to fall into negativity than it is to embrace being positive? Why is it easier to tell someone what they did wrong rather than compliment them on what they did right? Why does our society gravitate towards cruel and upsetting and run away from warm and embracing? Are people really that desperate for validation that they will make themselves feel better at the expense of their neighbor? Recently my wife and I were in out local gardening store for Mother’s Day. it’s kind of a tradition that for Mother’s Day I take my bride to pick out all the vegetables and flowers that she wants to plant in her greenhouse. We had our two offspring with us and after a morning at church they were teetering between tired and excited for being in a store. The perfect recipe for crankyness. My oldest who is almost 4 was running around looking at the all the colorful marvels her eyes and fingers could discover. While the better half was playing Peter Piper through a particular pepper patch, my oldest was hands deep in a very expensive birdbath. I told her to get out of the birdbath and to come back to the cart. She refused so I got a little more stern with my second direction. She has learned that when Dad’s voice drops a few decibels, its time to listen. She came lumbering back like a whipped puppy. One of the store employees saw the interaction and approached me. My instinct told me that the silver haired employee was going to tell me to keep a better “leash” on my child and then explain to me how if she breaks something, I have to buy it. To my surprise, the worker placed her hand on my shoulder and commended me on parenting my child. She said that I wouldnt believe how many parents come into the store with their children and just let them run amok. That it warmed her heart to see parents who care and make their children mind. “You are wonderful parents and don’t change anything you are doing.” is what she said in parting. While this made my wife an I feel really good about ourselves, it also gave me a pretty big reality check. Why was my first instinct of what this kind woman was going to say so negative? Have I lost hope in people? Have I come to only expect negativity and belittlement? Am I numb to kindness? Being negative and diminishing is not only popular but accepted. WHY? When someone tells you a tale of woe and hardship, do you sympathize and/or empathize with them or do you distance yourself? Do you tell yourself that their pain is not your concern and then brush it off because it cannot benefit you? Honestly, does listening or helping someone when there is no gain for you whatsoever a burden, do people even care anymore? What the heck happened to the concept of community, neighbors, friends? When did the world become so selfish and self centered? My second reality check was, “What in the world are people teaching their kids?” Is it so wrong to have high standards of your children? Are you afraid of being looked upon as a bad parent because you have to make an unpopular choice? Does the stranger in aisle 3 hold so much weight in you life that you are concerned of what they will think of you if you are stern with your child? By letting your children run amok and cause havoc, you are not doing anyone a favor, especially you and your children. What are you teaching your children by letting them act however they want in public. On another occasion, I was walking into my favorite coffee shop where I like to do most of my writing. As I was walking in a a young girl, who probably learned to drive last year, was walking out. I held the door open for her, smiled and wished her a good day. Her response to me was bewildering. “Uumm, I have a boyfriend and you’re old.” I was floored. Now I know I’m not the greatest thing to look at. Ive put on some pounds over the years and I’m starting to look my age, but did my kind gesture really deserve the completely rude and inconsiderate response from her? Why is politeness and kindness considered creepy or flirtatious. Im a happily married man with two wonderful children and my mother raised me to be polite and respectful no matter what. Just because I smile at you, hold the door open at a store or pick up something you dropped, does not mean I am a pervert or a stalker that wants to sleep with you. Chivalry isn’t dead, but chivalrous people are giving up. Who wants to be considered creepy just because of a kind gesture? Humanity is not just a classification of a species, its a quality of being humane. Being kind and benevolent. Where did the worlds humanity go, and how can we find it again? If you ask me, which you didn’t but ill tell you anyway, it started with being less selfish and more selfless. Humility is not thinking less of your self but thinking of yourself less. Men, don’t let chivalry die. Hold onto it with all the strength you have and keep it going. Women, give men a reason to be chivalrous. Don’t come to demand and expect but appreciate. Nether man nor woman should accept anything less.