21 April 2015

It's Really Very Simple...Don't Be an Asshole.



It's really very simple don't be an asshole
 
On Saturday during Maddy's nap time, I decided to visit a thrift shop down the road from us that I've been itching to check out for a while. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a love of antique stores, thrift shops and Goodwill stores. It takes some time, but you can often find great things in these stores and I'm always one to look for a bargain. 

I did my usual browsing and enjoyed the quiet time I had to myself for a while. It's not often that I'm able to go anywhere without a vivacious and busy child strapped to my side so I relished my solitude for this brief time. Two hours later, I found a few good items to buy and made my way to the checkout counter. What I found there however, was not expected.

Standing in line in front of me was a young pregnant woman who appeared to be in her last months of pregnancy. With her were her two other children - a toddler and another child around four to five years old. With one glance, it was easy to see that this poor mother was overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed. To make matters worse, the two children with her were breaking down; crying fits, tantrums - the works. 

The store was very busy and packed with shoppers and as I looked around at the people in line in front and in back of me, I heard the judgmental, grumpy, critical references from other shoppers regarding her children's crying and behavior yet, no one would step up and offer any assistance, even the other mothers there with their own children (you know, the same ones who've probably had this very same problem themselves and know how it feels?!) It was at that point that I realized that even if I stood there silent not saying a word, not being critical, that I was still allowing the bad to happen to this woman if I didn't stand up and do something to help. So I did. I stepped forward and asked if there was something I could do to help. It was a simple gesture but immediately, I could see the panic, the worry and the stress drain from her face as she released a sigh of relief and her composure eased a bit. I took the kids and kept them occupied for the time that it took for their mom to pay for their clothing and leave.

I don't tell you this story to boast or to earn brownie points in the eyes of anyone. I tell you this story because it is extremely bothersome to me as to why this problem - this lack of courtesy, respect and downright civility and concern for others in our society, even has to be an issue to begin with. Have we become so shallow, so self-centered and so jaded as humans that we can no longer put aside our own feelings to help those in need?  Simply by looking at this woman it was easy to see that she was in distress and needed a helping hand yet, there were none to be found. What would it have cost anyone to take a few minutes out of their day to help this woman occupy and entertain her children while she tried to check out? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Yet - it was easier for most people to stand around, do nothing and be critical all at the same time. 

As I walked out of the store, this young woman was waiting for me. She wanted to thank me for taking the time to help her with her children. More so, she wanted me to know how much my act of kindness really meant to her. You see, this woman's husband had lost his job a while back which in turn, led them down the stairway of debt, bankruptcy and loss. Not too long after they were forced to move out of their home because of a foreclosure, her husband decided he couldn't deal with the stress, the disappointment and the embarrassment of life and what had happened to his family so he decided to commit suicide. She was left to be alone - 8 months pregnant with two children - scrapping to make ends meet to provide for her family all while trying to keep it together for her kids. 

Friends, we never really know the struggles of others. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Why do we find it so incredibly easy, to off the cuff, be assholes to others... and usually, for no good reason? Yes - it is a strong word to use but it's the majority of the mentality that is allowed to exist and permeate in our society today. We don't get our way? Act like an asshole. Experience disappointments, letdowns and trials? Act like an asshole. Encounter a single mother with two crying kids and it's annoying to you? Yep, you guessed it - act like an asshole. Most of us are so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we fail to see that we're not the only ones living in it.  



Where is your heart? Better yet - where is your brain? It's the very basic principle of extending a helping hand to those in need that we try so very hard to instill in our children yet we lack the actual work and showing by example of what the words "Be nice to others" really means. Children, while they hear our words, actually learn by our actions. 


What are yours saying? I encourage each of us to try a little harder to be a little better. Most people on a day to day basis are simply trying to live their lives the best they can - in their homes, in their jobs and with their children. Calm the hell down and cut people a break. Isn't life hard enough on each of us without all the extra added hostility and hatefulness? Wouldn't you want the same courtesy and kindness extended to you if you needed it? 

In the end, you can be one of two things: you can be kind or you can be an asshole. It's a conscience choice that you make...the amount of effort that goes into being one or the other is the same.
{This post originally appeared on the blog in November of 2013 but seriously bears repeating...a lot.}
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

19 comments:

  1. This is awesome. Seriously it's not that hard. Just don't be an asshole!!!!!!! I'm stumbling this and pinning.

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  2. In theory this sounds wonderful, but I'm not sure everyone would have let you just entertain their kids. I don't step up because I don't want people to feel like they aren't doing a good job on their own. I do however, always let the lady with the crying kids in front of me in line.

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  3. Courtney PattersonApril 21, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    I understand your point of view. I guess my main bone of contention regarding the whole situation were the judgmental and hateful comments by others standing in line. If you don't want to volunteer to step up and help, that's cool. I get it. What I don't get though, are the people, such as in this instance, who berate AND choose to do nothing to make the situation better. That's my point I guess. Well that, and I firmly believe that erring on the side of kindness and offering help is never a bad thing. If people don't want to accept an offer of help, that's their choice to make but I will always do my best to step up and I wish others would too.

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  4. Courtney PattersonApril 21, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Thanks, Chelsea. I appreciate you reading and sharing!

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  5. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesApril 21, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Good for you!! What a heart wrenching story…
    Since having my own little I've made it a goal of mine to be more understanding, more helpful when I see other parents struggling in places. It pains me when I hear others scoff at parents in distress.

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  6. Wow, this story gave me chills!! What a amazing connection to make with a stranger. I hope you two stay in contact!

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  7. Even before I became a parent, when I saw a mom/dad struggling, I offered to help... That was just common sense to me and was good for everyone. I detest when people decide to voice their unwanted opinions. Think what you want, we can't change that, but at least keep your mouth shut. You never know what someone is dealing with and a little help may go a long way for them :)

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  8. Yes, yes, yes!!! I love that you stepped up and helped her!

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  9. Wow, just wow. This definitely deserves repeating a lot.

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  10. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    I just don't really understand that line of thinking: "Let me stand here and be a jerk while you clearly need help." I just don't get it. Thanks for not being an asshole, friend! ;-)

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  11. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    Thanks, Bethany and thanks for reading!

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  12. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Exactly! It really just goes back to good ol courtesy: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

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  13. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Thanks, Kassi and thank you for reading!

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  14. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Thanks, friend! I appreciate you reading. :-)

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  15. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    Exactly! How hard is it to do really??

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  16. Holy gut-wrenching goodness. I swear I just had the SAME experience as I was traveling to Vegas. There was a young mom with a 2 year old and a 4 month old, a rolling suitcase, and a carseat...and there were hundreds of people around her, watching to see how she was going to manage carrying it all. Well, she managed by growing two more arms - my arms. :D I sat next to her on the plane and tried to help her ignore the assholes around her, but I was amazed at how many people gave her sour looks and the lady in front of us even told her to "make" her two year old stop nudging the seat. As annoying as it was for her, did she even think of HOW exactly one would "make" a two year old stop doing anything?!?!! Haha. You were a ray of sunshine for that lady and that is truly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing this; I'll try to keep this with me as I go about my day-to-day.

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  17. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Thanks, Jaclyn. You too are a ray of sunshine in a very bleak and dark world. You probably have no idea the positive and uplifting affect you had on that mom - something she will never forget and hopefully pay forward to someone else. Thanks for reading!

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  18. Aw thank you. I somehow missed this reply and it seriously just brightened my day! Honestly, just like the title of your post, it just felt like a normal and friendly thing to do?!?! Haha.

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