The week that classes began was fairly busy for us in the Student Leadership and Involvement Center. That's, at least, what I told myself when I not once, but twice, tripped over a student that held the door open for me. Twice. OK, Fine! It was actually the same student twice on the same day. Both times he graciously smiled and offered me that knowing nod of a southern fella living in San Diego. But, it got me to thinking about being gentlemen and ladies.
The opening the door practice aside, what does it mean to be a lady or to be a gentleman? I see this as being a fairly easy question to answer. Respect. Respect for yourself and respect for others. In my example, the person I was with was being respectful. Not just because I am a woman, not just because I am older, but because I am a person that he chose to put before himself.
I don't do that as often as I would like. I wish I could say that my default mode was to put others first.
What would our community be like if we chose to put other's needs before our own? I heard a troubling story about this concept just this week. A member of our community was treating another member with disdain and judgement. The details don't matter as much as the fact that this poor treatment occurred in front of an audience. When we talk about being mature, responsible leaders, we mean treating EVERYONE well. Not just the one you like. Not just the one that can give you something. All of us.
Our leadership wants it. Our values demand it. Our community is ready for it. Try it. Being selfless (or at least less selfish) isn't a bad way to live. Peace.