Civility

A blog about exploring civility in today's society.

Month: February, 2014

#WWYD: Restoring my Faith in Humanity

ABC’s Primetime: What Would You Do is by far one of my favorite reality television shows. If you haven’t seen it before I strongly sugggest you click the link above. You’ll watch all of them in one sitting (not that I’ve.. uh.. done that..) Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 3.28.00 PM   The show takes place in public settings in America. There are awkward, uncomfortable, and wrongful situations, hidden cameras, and people standing up for others.It makes my heart melt every time I watch an episode (or even just a clip) from the show.

All kinds of issues are covered on the show: Racism, Teens in Trouble, Homophobia, Parenting, Elderly Abuse, Obesity and Weight Issues There are different reactions to these issues in public situations. I’d like to think a lot of them are handled the same way when the cameras aren’t around. I know it’s a reality television show so the producers probably give them a little push to get the scenes they need for good ratings. But, I also like to believe there is a lot of truth to the random people’s reactions.

Some people’s reactions on the show have brought me to tears. They drop what they’re doing to help someone, stand up for someone who needs help, or put someone in their place. I think the actors on the show are meant to be extreme but it makes the response from the random people who witness the scenarios even more heartwarming. This show restores my faith in humanity every single time.

John Quiñones, the host, gets to interview the participants at the end after they reveal the show and the actors. During the interview the people who responded to the situation always stand behind what they said to the actors involved.

I love seeing people doing good and standing up for what they believe in. The idea of this show is what I picture when I think of people living civilly. I hope everyone learns something when they watch it.

I also hope this show is around for a long, long time.

If you want to check out more of the show’s incredible clips you can go to their Youtube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWWYDShow

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Human Interaction

 

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

 

I grew up in the mid 90’s watching my parents have conversations with the waiter or waitress, the cashier, the other family waiting at the bus station, the stranger in line at the grocery store. They held doors open for people, picked trash up off the sidewalk, and ran after people to hand them the money they dropped.

Witnessing these beautiful moments of civility as a child made me so curious about the society I live in today.

I’m not saying my parents are perfect humans or perfect members of society. But they try so hard to do the right thing and be kind to perfect strangers. I think that’s what I admire the most about them. I appreciate it because I know others aren’t as fortunate to have such positive influences.

What worries me is that people often learn from watching others. I’m scared that my generation and the next won’t see as many of these civil moments because in today’s society people are looking down at their phones, tablets, and/or laptops. They are in too much of a hurry to ask the cashier how their day is or notice the older man who needs help getting out of his chair.

A lot of people always walk around with their headphones in to escape the world around them and to take their mind to another place. It concerns me that they are missing out on the world right in front of them. They are missing out on starting a conversation with a perfect stranger.

I hope more people will take a step away from their technology and interact with the people they see face to face in their every day lives. Take the time to put away your phone and make eye contact with the person on the other side of the counter. Ask the mechanic how his day is going rather than simply handing him your keys or credit card. Be conscious of your surroundings so you notice the little things like the little old woman who needs help walking up the stairs.

 

Starting a conversation.

You’re sitting on a bench waiting for the train when a gentleman in his late 70s sits beside you. He smiles at you politely and places his hands at this side leaning slightly forward, eagerly waiting the train’s arrival. Everything is quiet; it’s just you and him.

You wonder where he’s going, why he’s so anxious, where he’s coming from, if he’s lonely. You look the other way getting lost in your thoughts. Do you talk to him? What if he doesn’t want to talk? What if he’s just a grumpy old man? You’ll probably say the wrong thing. Just pretend to text on your iPhone to avoid conversation. Just as you reach for your phone he looks over and says, “So, where ya headed?”

Why are people so afraid to start a conversation? Having a conversation with a stranger connects you to the world around you. Why can’t you sit next to someone and talk about things other than the weather. Sharing conversations about your day, your families, ideas you’ve been pondering. Why do we only have to have these conversations with our friends, family, and loved ones. Having a conversation doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything, be life long friends, or even see them again.

Conversations with strangers should make the world feel a little smaller. It should make you feel better to know there are people out there that are just like you. You never know the story you’re going to hear from the stranger sitting next to you on the public bench. You never know the struggles they’ve been through. You never know just how much a smile or a friendly conversation could mean to the stranger sitting next to you.

I want to use this blog to start a conversation with my readers. I want to make people think about the way they act in public. I want to challenge people to connect with the people around them.