Painting by Bouvette found at the bottom on this web site - artists web site does not appear to be maintained
I try to take the girls to mall infrequently. It is not a good space - too many people - too loud - only focused on buying things. But occasionally, when something is needed we will go. Last week we were in Old Navy and it was Saturday and very busy. While we stood in line it quadrupled while the number of clerks remained the same. One of these clerks was helping an older woman. She had a walker, was fat, obviously poor and asking a lot of questions. And that clerk kept answering her and being polite. He could have gotten frustrated with her, told her to come back or go away, but he kept serving her with kindness and respect even as the line got longer.
I was impressed with his individual commitment to service and respect, but even more, I was thankful for the example he gave us. We got to continue to play out that circle as we talked about how he had acted and what it meant for us and how we acted. It made me conscious of the many roles we play in the circle of respect. I am used to spending my time ensuring that I get respected, less so making sure I respect others, and even less thinking about my role in giving space and time to other people who are living out respect. I could be rude in that line and rush the clerk to move on and move the lady aside. I could take that time to talk to my children about what we were seeing. I could take that time and remember to give respect. Even when I am not the center of the circle I have a role to play and there are nuances of respect that I still need to learn and practice. Hai hai to that young man.