I don’t often think about the past as being better than current day.
I mean, I have a nostalgia side. After all, I would love to be able to pop back in time to catch a 1950’s Elvis concert; but generally speaking, I think things are better today than in previous decades.
We have better medicine, telecommunications, civil rights advancement, higher levels of education, more people participating economically and more leisure time than most of us can use.
But, there is one very specific thing that I think is becoming rarer – and it’s consideration of other people in particular, our impact on others.
Both generally and specifically. From simple thing like
- being courteous in person,
- Sharing and co-operating in our interactions,
- modifying our behaviour or speech to avoid conflict or needless offense, and
- considering the larger impact of actions while driving like, line jumping or breaking the rules of the road.
The change that we’ve gone from competing with each other for jobs and promotions, all for me instead of you – seems to have become all for me at the expense of you.
When, it used to be good enough to keep up with the Jones; now it’s not enough to succeed, others must fail.
This struck me today as I watched pedestrians and cars scramble to race through a major downtown intersection while an ambulance was trying to clear the congested intersection a block away.
I had the walk light, sure, but I could hear the sirens and could see the ambulance – and it’s certainly better to stay out of the crosswalk so the ambulance can see if has a clear shot through so they can proceed quickly; instead of having to crawl through another one.
Even if I had not ever been in the situation of waiting for an ambulance, it’s not that hard to figure out that whatever reason the ambulance has to move through the streets, is more important than my getting to work, an appointment, lunch or just walking around.
This is not a difficult situation to assess – that ambulance is struggling to move and once clear, it has a free block to race down – but, if this intersection is obstructed, then it won’t be able to travel as quickly towards it.
Ambulances are a no brainer to keep out of the way, because whatever kind of bad day you are having, whoever is in or waiting for that ambulance, is having a worst one. And that should give them a gimme for consideration.
Ditto for fire trucks – I once grabbed a woman by her collar who looked at the fire engine slowing down to make the corner we were standing at – she announced “I have the walk” and stepped off the curb.
She was very surprised when I jerked her back to the sidewalk, off the road and out of the way of the fire engine.
Police, fire and ambulance are emergency vehicles that need to be able to move about their business.
The life they may be saving, could be you or a loved one – and whoever they are racing to help, is the loved one of someone out there.
It gets back to that Think and Care idea.