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Little Signs of Big Trouble

Little Signs of Big Trouble

Last weekend we were at a baseball tournament with our son. While sitting on the bleachers waiting for our next game, I noticed something disturbing.

The coach of one of the leagues brought cupcakes to his team. They were elated and within minutes every cupcake was gone. For a brief time the teen-age boys laughed, ate, and enjoyed a break in between games. Shortly they left to go warm up for the upcoming championship.

They were gone, but the mess remained. Wrappers from the cupcakes and empty bottles littered the bleachers. Of the twelve members of the team, only two picked up and disposed of their trash. They left a mess and didn’t even notice. I could not help but witness this as we were sitting directly behind them, another life lesson happening right in front of me.

This may seem trivial to some, but little problems typically fester into bigger problems. While I’m no Dr. Phil, it seems that some conclusions can easily be made after having witnessed something so disappointing.

Demonstrate Gratitude: Our culture spends so much time focusing on what we don’t have, often we take for granted what we do have. When someone chooses to bless you with something as simple as a kind gesture, be thankful by being responsible. What you have been given is your responsibility to take care of and treat with respect. Our world is a better place with others who are thankful for what they have and mindful of others.

Have Class: When I was little I used to hear my mom refer to people as “classy” or “no class.”  It had nothing to do with the color of their skin or economic status. It had everything to do with how they demonstrated integrity and lived day to day. That never made sense to me until I became an adult and participated in the panorama of public living. Be a person of “class” by doing the little things right. Clean your mess, put back the grocery cart, and open a door for someone. Southern hospitality means we notice others and extend respect and kindness.

Take a Stand: The most disappointing part of that whole event was my own lack of action. We teach people how we want to be treated, and if I could go back and live that day again, I would have taken time to take a stand. It’s very difficult to complain about what is going on around you if you are not willing to bring change. “Boys, before you leave, pick up your mess and thank your coach.” While you could argue it’s none of my business, it would have gotten the mess picked up and hopefully made at least one child think twice next time.

Be alert to life. No matter your age, respect starts with respecting yourself by expecting respect from others. Then you can extend it to others. Be careful not to miss an opportunity to take a stand and make a difference!

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