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Early Spring 2006

Dear Friends

I'd been standing in line at the grocery store for what felt like longer than a flight to Thailand. The minute another woman got in line behind me, a clerk appeared at the next register saying, "I can take the next person in line!" (You probably know where this is going, right?) Yes, the woman behind me hopped over to that register faster than I could say "Huh??", and by the time she pulled out of the parking lot with her groceries, I was still waiting in my line, and a line had now formed at the other register as well. When I was finally greeted by the clerk's "Find everything you need today?" I was imagining that woman already at home knitting in front of the fire. Arrgh.

Whenever I get together with friends these days, our conversation generally includes at least one horror story about a recent brush with rudeness, and I'm not talking about misplaced salad forks. Of course, compared to the growing risk of a human flu pandemic, a national etiquette crisis may seem like pretty small stuff, but I'm obviously not alone in my concern. I read in the "U.S. News & World Report" that nine out of ten Americans think that rudeness is not only a serious problem that's getting worse, but it is also creating more opportunities for violence.

What would our lives be like if we all respected (or least acknowledged!) one another in simple ways by showing up on time, returning borrowed items, replacing the empty toilet roll, and all that stuff we learned to do in kindergarten? And what happened to our manners between kindergarten and 2006, anyway? According to The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on public attitudes about rudeness, 69% of people think that parents deserve most of the blame. (Certainly they weren't referring to Chinaberry staff and customers!) Given that parents are supposedly more involved today than ever (according to everyone from "USA Today" to the "Wall Street Journal"), exactly what seems to be the problem? I can't help but wonder if all this rudeness is a by-product of a growing sense of self-entitlement that seems to be pervading our culture -- an attitude of "I can keep you waiting for 20 minutes because my schedule is more important than yours," and "I don't have to let your car in front of mine on the freeway because I was here first, and besides, my car is newer and cleaner than yours."

I'm perplexed because it all seems so simple -- so Golden Rule, so kindergarten. While I run the risk of sounding like Mr. Rogers here, it's really all about simple consideration. It's thinking about how our actions will impact others -- be it our next-door neighbor or the environment. We seem to be pretty good about this during times of tragedy or on major holidays such as Christmas, when many are basking in the glow of "Miracle on 34th Street" and hot spiced cider. If only we could hold onto that feeling long after we've brought in the New Year. I'm all for making a resolution this year to be more mindful of those around me as well as the future generations to follow. My hope is that next year at this time when I get together with friends, none of us will have a single tale of rudeness to tell.




Other Issues:
From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

Early Spring 2007

Winter 2006

Holiday 2006

Fall 2006

Late Summer 2006

Midsummer 2006

Early Summer 2006

Late Spring 2006

Spring 2006




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