Where do you stand?

Where do you stand?

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The earth is warming and polar bears will be extinct in less than thirty years.
Agree or disagree.

Gay people should have the right to marry, just like heterosexual people do.
Agree or disagree.

Illegal aliens have a right to be in the Unites States and partake of our benefits and services.
Agree or disagree.

The shootings at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, show that gun control is necessary, regardless of the Constitution.
Agree or disagree.

Our military should be pulled out of the Middle East, once and for all.
Agree or disagree.

Our educational system needs revamping.
Agree or disagree.

The President of the United States is wrong.
Agree or disagree.

Rosie O’Donnell is wrong.
Agree or disagree.

There was a time when thoughtful people engaged in debate over issues of importance and even frivolous ones. We respected others’ opinions even when we did not agree with them. A good discussion was invigorating, not demeaning. And name calling was out of bounds.

The times have changed. Listen to talk radio or the television news stations and you will hear opponents called vile names and their characters attacked as frequently as their views are. This is considered entertainment by some. There’s even a name for the more extreme talk show hosts- “shock jocks”- and as we now know, at least one company contracted to have their host use “irreverent and controversial” speech as part of his services.

My concern, and I think many of yours, as well, is that this has become more the norm and less shocking. It has permeated how adults conduct themselves and civility has been lost in most areas of life.

Some complain that our children have lost manners and respect. I submit that we, as a population, young and old, have lost what was once taken for granted in our behavior with one another- kindness and the civility that makes for a gentle way of living.

But one person can make a difference. Here’s a short story of how one little boy changed his classmates, and so the world:

When he became old enough to understand and strong enough to accomplish it, I asked my son to begin holding the door for the person behind him and open it for those coming toward him. At first, he was pleased to get the “Thank you, what a gentleman!” But he soon began to see that others didn’t hold the door or went through the one he was holding without even a recognition that he was there.

He became dismayed, but I comforted him by telling him they probably didn’t know how to respond since it was so long ago that this had been done. With my encouragement, he continued to do this and to say “Thank you” when someone did something nice for him. Lo and behold, one day he came back from school and told me the children were holding doors for each other and saying “Thank you.”

A little thing, you say? I say it changed the world. His corner of the world, but the world nevertheless.

Now what about your world? Can you make it kinder, gentler, more civil simply by changing your actions toward others? I think you can. I think you can bring all this into a world that has become mean, rude and frightening. Just by changing your words, your attitude, your intentions.

This is what I think will move us toward that better way of living:

• Accept that others may have an opinion that differs from yours and that it doesn’t make them evil, stupid, wiser or better. It’s probably that their experiences have influenced their thinking, just as your experiences have influenced your thoughts.

• You can disagree without attacking the other person’s integrity.
• Be careful of how much news and talk radio you partake of. It dulls the senses, makes us think cruelty is “normal” and desensitizes us to things which should always outrage us. It also makes devils out of those who disagree with us.

• Be careful of “political correctness.” I think it has done more to promote prejudice and dullness of thought than anything else in the many years past. It is used to block critical thought and discussion because no one wants to be called a “bigot.”

• Keep close to your heart the way you wish the world to be. That is what you will express.

• Do unto others what you would have them do to you. It may not be that person who reacts in kind, but the next one may be the one.

And being a commuter, this can make all the difference in how the commute affects you and your life. Never be too hurried to do a kindness or be polite. It will lessen your stress, increase your healthiness and leave a bright mark on your world.

If you don’t believe me, just try it for a week and see how good you feel.

Be well,

Dr. M.
Go now and have your copy of Conquer the Commute: Tools for the Road and Life downloaded to your computer at:
> www.ConquertheCommute.com <

About Dr. Marie Mastria
Dr. Mastria works with wellness and health issues. Call or email to discuss working with her.

Get “Conquer the Commute: Tools for the Road and Life” at
www.conquerthecommute.com. A complete manual and workbook to make the commute easier and your life better.
Dr. Mastria is founder of Commuter-Assist.com, which publishes e-books, CDs and cassettes to help commuters get the most out of their commute and life in general. Dr. Mastria speaks, offers workshops, and consults to businesses. She also provides life, wellness, and executive and business coaching to groups and individuals. To contact Dr. Mastria email info@Commuter-Assist.com or call 570-839-6394.
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