Note: I originally posted this in October 2015. In light of recent events, I thought it might be time to dust it off and share it again. Of course, there’s no “simple cure” for the complex nature of the issues we’re facing as a nation. I offer this as one way to start.
I’d love to hear your feedback. Consider this an open invitation to comment below.
Reposted from October 14, 2015
Have I ever mentioned how brilliant my wife is? We’ve had several conversations recently about the general unrest and the growing racial tension seen in story after story on the news. While we didn’t come up with a fool-proof strategy to end it, we both felt like common courtesy and a positive approach would go a long way. She came up with an acronym, borrowed heavily from the old S.E.R.V.I.C.E. idea that businesses have used for years.
S – See people — really look at them — not with judgmental eyes or even colorblind eyes, but eyes that appreciate the inherent value of every human being.
M – Make eye contact. I know it’s not always comfortable, but without it, how will they know you’re acknowledging them?
I – Initiate contact. Doesn’t have to be complicated, just a nod, a smile, a “good morning” or a “how are you?”
L – Listen for a response. How many times have I heard a “have a nice flight” from the agent at the airport ticket counter and responded, “you, too.” I wasn’t really listening.
E – Excuse. If you don’t get a response, it’s less than enthusiastic or even downright hostile, understand that there are all kinds of situations going on that we don’t know about but could have influenced that response.
So make the world a better place and S.M.I.L.E.