Take Your Place

I was heading to a session the other day and while I was driving came to a four way stop. Now, at this four way stop was a lot of pedestrian traffic; traffic lights, walk lights and a traffic cop monitoring the flow of things. As I was waiting for my turn at the intersection I watched as a driver ignored the direction of the traffic cop, tried motioning for pedestrians to proceed through the cross walk as cars were turning into it.

He was holding up traffic on his end of the road. Fortunately, the pedestrians didn’t follow his cue but rather waited for the go ahead from the walk signal and traffic cop. Had they proceeded they would have probably been hit by a car and the car that waited would have caused further accident by not just going.

What I Think

This scenario got me to thinking about how taking our place in life. So many time we stop to do what we think is the nice or kind thing by letting someone take our place in line, whatever line that might be. Now, I’m not saying to throw good manners out the window, but the one action you are doing out of kindness might have further reaching implications that don’t turn out so nice. Sometimes, it’s just better to take your place and keep traffic flowing.

The judgement about when to give up your place in line is a tough one. There’s a fine line between being rude and inconsiderate or helpful. Here’s the point, though, isn’t it rude and inconsiderate to cause a chain reaction of negative events to impart what you might think is one good one?

To Walk or Wait

One more quick example on this thought tangent. I live with a very chivalrous man. He expects to open the door for a lady and her to walk in front of him. Before we get up in arms about how he thinks I can’t open a door (which isn’t true), I love this about him and don’t want it to change. This was and still is the hardest thing for me to adjust to. I’m not used to this type of treatment and I usually pause and wait for HIM to walk ahead of me after he opens a door.

First, this was very irritating to him, because he’d stand there and wait. Second, all the people at the door were waiting for us to make what should be a simple entry or exit out of a building. So they’re getting irritated. I caused a negative chain reaction of irritation by not taking my place and walking through the door. In my mind I was doing the nice thing be letting him walk through first. In reality I was creating a mess.

We have rules of engagement as to how to proceed at a four way stop. Rules on how to move through ticket lines, and yes, even how to walk through doors for a reason. I’m not implying that these rules shouldn’t be broken sometimes. I’m thinking that sometimes we should consider the far reaching effects of not taking our place when we’re entitled.

That’s my thought for the day, but I’d love to hear what you think.



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