What Should We Do?
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them all, especially from those of you who are disabled and/or have (or had) small children.
As you can imagine, Sir Knight, the children and I were in agreement with the vast majority of you – the woman with the small children should have used the larger stall and the lady in the wheelchair should have graciously waited. What really surprised us was “Dear Abby’s” response. In her column, she stated that the handicap stall was reserved for handicapped people only and the woman at the end of the line in the wheelchair should have been given preference.
Truthfully, I don’t think it really boils down to an issue of mobility but rather is an issue of courtesy. In my experience, most people do their best to be courteous to one another. Had I been in that bathroom I would have encouraged the woman behind me with the small children to use the handicap stall, just as I would have given preference to the woman in the wheelchair had she been behind me. I am relatively certain the handicapped woman referred to in the “Dear Abby” column would have been quickly ushered into the handicap stall had she been gracious rather than rude. She had an opportunity to encourage charity and understanding, instead she chose the disheartening attitude of selfishness.
The unfortunate truth is that sometimes we can’t seem to win regardless of what we do. If we allow the person behind us to “cut in line”, the person at the end of the line gets irritated. If we open the door for someone, they very well may hurl the insult of “I can do that myself!”. Even offering a seat to an older person can be offensive – “I’m not old” they often quip. In our self-centered society even the most courteous of actions can be misconstrued as blatantly offensive. What are we to do?
The answer is simple, really. We do the right thing. We are kind, we are courteous and we are gracious. No. Matter. What. It doesn’t matter how someone else responds, we are responsible for our own actions – every time. We do not have the ability to control how others respond. We can’t make them behave correctly. We can’t force them to react the way we think they should. The only person we have control of is ourselves. And therein lies the rub. It is our responsibility to control ourselves. Every time! We need to control our tongues, our tempers and even our thoughts. Our person is under our authority! We are our own responsibility. No. Matter. What.
I’m pretty sure the answer to “What should we do?” is “The right thing”. If we held ourselves and our children accountable to that simple precept our country would look a whole lot different.
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