The Precedent

This is a bit longer post than usual but rants can be that way sometimes.  It is definitely out of my usual character…no pics, just punch.  I tell this kind of stuff to my kids but really, I am telling it to myself.   I wrote this about a year ago and just found it today to post.  Comment if you wish…”like” if you needed it.


Setting a higher standard for yourself does not mean that you think that you are better than others.  It DOES mean that you are striving to do better than others, though.  Understand that once you set a precedent, it will be expected of you.  That is a good thing.  It is why first impressions are so important and why you should put so much value in them.


If 50 people text you while you are in a 2 hour class or while you are at work (yes, there are some jobs that you cannot text while on duty), are you worried that they will get mad if you do not fire a response back immediately?  It is ok to NOT get right back to them.  If you are able to text or email someone back immediately every time they summon you, you may need to search out a better purpose for breathing.  I have said it before and I will say it again, “They will still answer when you are able to conveniently get back to them”…if not, then they need a better purpose in life as well.


Some people may consider this a rant.  Well, I guess that it is in a way but staying with your nose buried in Facebook waiting for an interesting status update to comment on, is probably worse.  You are responsible for setting the precedent and being an example for our kids as well as their friends.  Yes, I said their friends.  While it is not a totally accurate quote, I will modify it to fit our own lesson here. “Apathy will become the norm, if people choose not to act”.  If we choose to think that others should just know better and do not take initiative to lead, they will most likely NEVER LEARN.


Today, we have youth teaching youth all over the nation.  Parents are overwhelmed and tired and wonder why they cannot get anything done.  They would rather spend money on things that tear their family apart than do things that bring their family together.  I admit it too.  I am guilty.  It is easier to just feed them what they crave rather than give them what they need.  One of the problems that we have as a society is that sometimes we assume that others have learned something that we already know.  It is like we think that they should have absorbed it or something.


Recently I visited a well known fast-food restaurant to get a couple of items to stifle my hunger until dinner since I had not eaten lunch.  The restaurant was what I call a “hit-or-miss” joint…in other words, you never know what you would get when you opened your wrapper.  I pulled up to the drive-thru speaker and was greeted by an energetic friendly voice.  I thought, “Wow! That’s nice to hear for a change”.  I pulled up to the window and was met by a smile and courteous service.  Again, I thought, “This guy is new or something” but the genuine hospitality was rather eye-opening.  I pulled out and went to a parking space to commence with the “hit-or-miss” portion of the program.  What happened next can only be summarized as astounding.  Not only was the order right, it was neat, made right, a good portion and hot.  I was dumb-founded.  Everything about my visit was exactly correct.  The food was even wrapped correctly.  I almost took a picture of it rather than eating it!


I did eat my order and eat it all because every bite was right and perfect.  I bet you are thinking that I am about to say that then I woke up.  Well, maybe in a way, I did.  I then went into the restaurant with my receipt and asked for the manager.  He walked out timidly and happened to be the same person who served me at the window.  I exclaimed, “David, I have come here ever since this location opened.  I have never had the superior level of service from here as I did today.  I spent less than four dollars and I feel like I was treated like I spent a million.  I will not only be back but I will tell others in the area about my visit.”  I thought he was going to cry.  He thanked me and told me that they have been working hard on changing the way they did business since competition in the area had been getting fierce.


Did I feel good about what I did or silly for making such a big deal over a $3.27 order?  Yes, maybe, but what was actually accomplished?  I had a wake-up call to something very enlightening that was engrained in me and I had lost.  Lost because of all the cares of this world, nation, city, workplace, family and self.  I found my need to make a difference.


I’m not talking about making an indelible mark in the fabric of the history of the world.  I am talking about looking out for our posterity, one act at a time.  Not a random act of kindness, but an earned move of encouragement.  How many times has someone treated you really well and you just thought it was great but did not say a word about it to them?  Really, do you think that they just read your mind and know that you were pleased from their efforts?  Do not think that it does not matter.  Turn the tables and stand in their shoes.  How would you feel if you put your total efforts into your work and the recipients told you, “I am telling others about this so that they can experience it as well”?


It takes an effort of selflessness and some courage but once done, you wish that others would do the same as well.  I will state this again:


“Apathy will become the norm, if people choose not to act”.


Set a precedent first so that you first may follow it.


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