Pay Respect // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

In a newspaper column called “Positively Speaking” it would certainly be inappropriate to complain. That would be like the Optimist Club meeting in a bad restaurant and griping about the food — sort of goes against the mission.

Yet, there is an issue that I need to bring up to the good people of Hayward and beyond. It may seem small compared to other, more pressing issues, but I think it’s important.

A few days ago, I was driving in a large funeral procession, and couldn’t believe what I observed. Even with a police escort, about half of the cars approaching us did not pull over and stop. Many did not even slow down.

When I mentioned this to the funeral director, he said this is normal these days. “People don’t show respect like they used to,” he responded.

Somehow, over the course of time and the passing of generations, we have lost our sense of public respect. I don’t believe that people mean to be disrespectful — they just don’t think. Perhaps they’ve never been taught about honor.

The following is Primer for Public Respect, for those who missed the lesson somewhere along the line:

1. When approaching a funeral procession, pull over and stop. You will know it’s a funeral procession if you see a hearse followed by a bunch of cars in a line with their lights on. In honor of the deceased, it is appropriate to wait until the last car has passed you. Never cut in to a funeral procession, or try to pass. Nothing on your agenda is so important that it can’t wait for a few moments to honor the dead. Someday, your time will come!

2. Take off your hat at the appropriate places and times. This includes nice restaurants, church, school, theaters, and during prayers. Society has changed a lot in this department, but it still is a good idea to think about it. If you wonder whether or not you should take off your hat — you should.

3. Honor the National Anthem. It is proper to stand and place your hand over your heart. The singing of our National Anthem is not just a “preliminary” for sporting events. It isn’t a time to chat with friends or dash to the snack bar. This is our opportunity to remember our freedom and those who paid the price for it.

4. Don’t pile junk on top of a Bible. Maybe this is just my own little obsession — but I never like to see anything placed on top of a Bible. I always make sure the Bible ends up on top! It’s a statement about what’s most important.

5. Remember to say “Thank You.” When you receive gifts or kindnesses from others, you should express your appreciation. Be prompt with your “Thank You’s.”

6. Hold the door. When you are approaching an entrance and someone else is coming through, hold the door open. This is particularly appropriate if the person is your elder (or a mom with little kids and packages.)

7. (For Employees) Serve the Customer. You are being paid to pay attention to the people who come into your place of business. The customer is never an interruption. If there weren’t any customers, you wouldn’t have a job. You should never neglect the customer while you chat with your co-workers, gossip on the phone, or finish your crossword puzzle.

8. (For Customers) Be Nice to the Employees. Cashiers and waiters are people and should always be treated with dignity. Tip well and be gracious. If you have a problem with a business, don’t take it out on the poor person on the front line.

I could probably add about 50 more, but this list should give us a good start! When it comes to living together in a community, we need to Pay Respect.

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10655 Nyman Ave
Hayward, WI 54843

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