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Your View: In this season of peace, love and understanding, remember human decency is still strong

My father always said, “It doesn’t take much to say hello, hold open the door for someone or smile and wait your turn.”
With the arrival of another Christmas holiday, people can become extremely impatient, overloaded with stress and incessantly worried about being somewhere fast or buying this or receiving that.
Sometimes we lose sight of what it means and how important it is to be polite and act with kindness and respect toward others.
John Schmoyer
There are numerous stories of joy and compassion, of course. However, the sad truth is when we open our newspapers, turn on the TV or search our internet sites, we are inundated with large amounts of negative and dismal news.
Between the gun violence, political discord, climate change cynics, election deniers, education attackers, LGBTQ discriminators, corporate greed … Well, you get the idea.
When reckless, selfish behavior stretches thin the frayed edges of caring for one another, then the threat of tearing apart the fabric of human decency becomes reality.
Since we are entering a season where peace, love and understanding embodies the moral norm, let’s focus more on stories that help inspire and uplift. Rather than follow the noise of a sensationalized story sparking heated emotions in an already combustible world. Indeed, without much effort I am reminded that there is good all around, and much closer than we think:
A lifelong friend shared how he and his two siblings make the short drive to the assisted care living facility, where they regularly take turns sitting and keeping their 91-year-old mother company.
I could sense how he helps her to recall, and speaks with thoughtfulness and love in his heart, as her mind is now a mixture of jumbled faces and voices she once knew.
Or, recently, a sixth grader sat quietly in her language arts class sobbing. The night before, the young girl was told that her mother had a lump on her breast and needed a biopsy. The teacher didn’t know what to do, so she asked the distraught student’s best friend for help.
Calling out the other girl from her class and into the hallway, the teacher explained the situation. Without hesitation or contemplation, the best friend took off her favorite bracelet and gave it to the crying girl and said, “Here, Addie, wear this, and whenever you feel sad today, think of me.”
That other girl was my granddaughter, Ava.
My wife was a nurse for 43 years. Awhile back, an acquaintance who was one of her patients told me, “Your wife did a great job of caring for me before my surgery. Her kind and friendly demeanor helped ease my worries and gave me the faith that everything was going to be all right. She was awesome.” I certainly agree.
Then there’s my son, a third grade math teacher in Philadelphia who was born and raised in our upper-middle class suburban neighborhood. His inner city experiences were far from inherent.
He told me recently, “Dad, the circumstances in which some of my students were born into can be challenging at times. I am thankful for all the support you and Mom were able to provide me throughout my childhood and beyond.” Made me feel pretty thankful too.
“I chose to lose myself in good, rather than lose myself in bad.” There wonderful words were spoken by a son-in-law who grew up under difficult circumstances where certain conditions could have taken his life down a different and regrettable path.
Instead, his work ethic, love of wife and children, and will to help others without a “what’s in it for me” mentality is a refreshing reminder of why the fabric of human decency is still strong.
Yet, not even close to being a patient or calm individual, I more than most need to be poked into remembering just how fortunate I am to have a kind, considerate and loving family and circle of friends. For that, I am grateful and look with renewed spirit toward the holiday season and upcoming new year. And will try hard not to forget to say hello, hold open the door, smile and yes … wait my turn.
John Schmoyer is a retired U.S. history/American government teacher and department chair at Northwestern Lehigh School District.
Source: Morningcall

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