"Opinion" It begins with us

Jennifer Bonn

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Jen Bonn

Have you ever seen something you would love to see changed, but you felt powerless as only one person? Change has to begin somewhere, and one person standing up to make a difference can turn into a group that can turn into a strong community capable of getting something done.

Imagine some of the things you would like to see changed and brainstorm some ways of how you think that change can happen. Here are a few on my list.

Respect

There are not many things that make me as angry as when I see a lack of respect. Respect is one of those basic ingredients of being raised correctly. Here is a short list of what respect is for me.

· Show up

I understand that crazy things sometimes happen in life, but if you told someone you were coming to something, don’t back out at the last minute. Show up.

· Be on time

When you are late, it is a sign of disrespect. It is as if you are saying your time is more important than anyone else. It also looks as if you don’t have your stuff together enough to show up when you are supposed to be somewhere. That doesn’t make you look professional.

· Be presentable

Appearances do matter, so do your best to look put together. I always thought that doing my best to look put together was a sign that the people who I would be in front of mattered to me. My oldest sister never left the house without full makeup, a great outfit and jewelry. One day, I showed up at her house to go shopping, and because I had a three-year-old and a five-year-old, I was just happy I was dressed! She looked at me, and with scorn dripping from her lips, she said, “Apparently, you couldn’t find your earrings today.”

· Open doors

Opening doors to me is another way of offering kindness. It’s a simple way of saying, “Let me help you.”

· Respond when spoken to

When I was teaching, if I said good morning to a student and the student walked past me and ignored me, I would follow him and say, “Excuse me, you must not have heard me when I said Good Morning, because I know you would never be that rude to not respond.”

· Realize the elderly deserve our kindness

I do not like it when someone is condescending to an older person. They have experience, wisdom, and a great deal to share with us.

· Speak with respect

I cannot claim that I have never sworn, but I will tell you on the rare occasion that I do, the people who know me, start to laugh, probably because they don’t expect it from me. We can have conversations with each other without every other word being inappropriate. I am worried when I see people who are surprised when I say please and thank you. It shouldn’t be a rare occurrence.

· Listen fully when having a conversation

When someone is speaking with you, focus on that person and what she has to say. When you continually interrupt her for other things, it shows you are not interested in what she has to say.

· Put the phone away at meals

I always think having at least one meal together as a family is important. Everyone takes a break from all the responsibilities and distractions and shares with each other. I am always sad to see a family at a restaurant when everyone is focused on the phone.

· Treat people correctly

I am always amazed at how hateful people can be, and the things they think it is alright to say. Be kind.

Tolerance

I’m not an expert about why people hate people who are different, but I think two factors are fear and ignorance. I would love to see us work harder on improving how we treat diversity. The more we can have people from different genders, races, and cultural backgrounds interact with each other, I think it would be a small start to healing the divide in our country.

Mental health

I’m glad that mental health has been being discussed more. We have to stop putting a stigma on it though, by saying if you are depressed or need help, there is something wrong with you. I hope we can offer more affordable counseling to those that need it, and that the issue becomes a more important one.

There are so many more. What topics would be on your list? What can you do to effect a change?

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA
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