Thursday, June 10, 2010

What do you think?

Apparently it’s common knowledge that as people grow older they are supposed to mature. In theory the idea sounds great, but is that always the case? We’re supposed to learn lessons from our experiences that lead to richer more fulfilling lives, right? Perhaps this isn’t happening as much as we’d like to think it is.

The first thing that comes to mind, for me, is the in crowd. In high school there were popular kids, bookish kids, mean kids, jocks (I could go on and on listing different ways kids classified each other) and there were also the kids that just didn’t seem to fit into any particular category and paved their own way while sharing in one of the groups above. There was one thing that most students wanted (even if they tried to act like they didn’t care) and that was popularity. To be part of the in crowd was huge. But then on the other hand there was a feeling of exclusion amongst those that didn’t quite make the cut. I will say that some of the popular kids where nice and seemed to care about their fellow peers. On the other hand some were just plain mean, but they got away with it because they were popular. They said and did whatever they wanted and for some reason it was acceptable. On the other hand if someone who hadn’t reached that elevated status did something considered “out of line” the other kids made them regret it.

Fast forward to today and I see a lot of this same behavior among the adults I run into from time to time. I’ve seen people at work (and other professional settings), in restaurants and social situations who think that it’s okay to treat others badly because they are “better” than them. For some reason I was under the impression that the age of “let’s be cruel to other people because we can” should have been over once we reached adulthood. Maybe my expectations are too high but I’d really hoped that our life experiences would help us to understand the lessons most of our teachers and parents tried to drill into us as children. Treating others the way we want to be treated and learning to make decisions because they are right for us should be norms but too many times it feels like they aren’t.

What happened to common courtesy? Am I an old fashioned hopeful or am I just missing something?

Now let me just say that I certainly don’t believe all people (or even most) are thoughtless or uncaring. I really just want to know why unkind behavior seems to be more acceptable (or over looked like with celebrities) if the person is well liked and unacceptable if the person isn’t. Shouldn’t we all be held to the same standards? Talk to me.