Be A Carrier of Kindness
A father recently wrote: “Dear Dads, I was in the grocery store and asked a ‘sales associate’ where I could find something and all I got was a shrug. I went to check out. The person at the register carried on a conversation with the bagger the whole time about how she had to work a double shift, got stood-up at the ballgame and couldn’t wait to get off work. These two ‘public servants’ hardly knew I was there. I was tempted to say something nasty, but my teenage son was with me. Which would have been the better example to set for my son— share a piece of my mind or to keep quiet?”
Standing Up vs. Standing Down
We dads have tender egos. Our self-image gets pricked when we aren’t treated well. In this case, Dad was not receiving the service he thought he deserved. He felt ignored, unimportant and unappreciated. Sometimes we blow things way out of proportion. When confronted with a similar incident, we need to step back, remove our personal feelings from the mix and make sure our response is appropriate.
In this case, Dad doesn’t want to endorse bad behavior and feels slighted at how he was treated. At the same time, he wants to be reasonable and model mature behavior for his son. Dad could ignore the bad behavior, complain to the manager, or scream at everyone. We all carry around a bucket full of slights, difficulties and hardships. Sometimes our reaction depends on how good we feel about ourselves or how full our bucket is.
The Power of Nice
Often it is more important to teach our children a good lesson about behavior than it is to make a point because we feel ill-treated. We want to interact with individuals who treat us well and often we can serve as the best example by taking the kindest route.
Two books come to mind that outline the importance of kindness in the workplace: The Power of Niceby Thaler & Koval and The Kindness Revolutionby Horrell. As Thaler & Koval say in their book:
“It is often the small kindnesses—the smiles, gestures, compliments, favors—that make our day and can even change our lives. Whether you are leading your own company, running for president of the PTA, or just trying to conduct a civil conversation with your teenage daughter, the power of nice will help you break through the misconceptions that keep you from achieving your goals. The power of nice will help you to open doors, improve your relationships at work and at home, and let you sleep a whole lot better. Nice not only finishes first; those who use its nurturing power wind up happier, to boot!”