Bill Packard: We can control how we respond

Wed, 04/22/2020 - 8:30am

    Hasn’t this been something?  Middle of February, we were winding down from an open winter, planning spring vacation trips and cruises.  Now, here we are stuck at home, not even wanting to look at travel brochures, waiting in line to get into stores where we have to follow specific directions, trying to figure out who is open and who is not, who has the best take-out, and on social media, pretty much hating everyone who thinks differently than we do.

    Isn’t it great? 

    I’m reminded of the often-repeated quote from L Lionel Kendrick, “We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond.” 

    This is a time that really brings that home. It’s also an interesting question to ponder what will life be like when this is over?  Who knows?  Here’s one thing I hope: Essential people will be treated differently.

    As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to take people in all sorts of professions for granted. Sadly, some folks even talk down to those people, and pull that, “I’m more important than you” attitude on them. 

    If there’s one good thing about this whole COVID-19 situation is that “essential” people have taken on a new, well deserved priority.  The showing of appreciation for healthcare professionals and first responders does my heart good.  Well deserved and overdue. 

    You see, they’ve been doing what they do all along and we overlooked them. They don’t do what they do for recognition, but I can tell you for certain that appreciation means more than you can know. Keep it up. When you have electricity, you probably never think about that lineman working on a pole somewhere other than to complain if you have to sit in traffic waiting for the flagger to let you through.  You might even get upset with the flagger.  But when your power’s out, they’re heroes.

    What the last few months have reminded me is that everyone is essential. 

    The CEO who runs the Fortune 500 company can’t get anything done if the maintenance person doesn’t unlock the door and turn on the lights.

    The phone needs to work.

    The restrooms need to be cleaned and stocked.

    If you can’t do it, anybody who can do it is “essential.”  When we go into a grocery store today, there are several things we have to do now that we didn’t have to do in February, but all along, somebody’s job was to get the carts from the parking lot so you could put your groceries in them.  Others had to stock the shelves so that the items you wanted were available to you. Those grocery items aren’t free, so people stand there for customer after customer checking out your purchases.  Any one person is left out of this equation and you don’t have any groceries. 

    I hope you’re getting my drift.

    Our lives are like parts of a machine.  If one part, no matter how minute, breaks or doesn’t operate, the whole machine shuts down.  Dead in the water, waiting for a repair person.  Another “essential” employee.

    I’m not a fan of this, “we’re all in this together” popular slogan, because we’re not. 

    Many are struggling much more than others and the ones who aren’t struggling probably don’t know too much about the ones that are, and the ones who are struggling for the most part are keeping it to themselves, so there’s a big vacuum  between the two.  Still, we all depend on each other to keep the machine operating. And that’s an important thing to remember.

    As we work our way through this deal, how about we recognize the “essential” people every day?

    It’s not practical to show appreciation with signs and parades every day, but there is a way.  Just say, “Thank you.”

    That’s it.  Every opportunity you get. The mailman.  The cashier. The garbage man. The truck driver who delivers your fuel or building products.  The UPS or FEDEX person how delivers all the things you buy online while posting about supporting local businesses.

    The list is endless.

    It only takes a second and means the world. Like everything else, it’s a habit and once you get it, it brings rewards to you and the person you’re recognizing.  Do you know why saying thank you and showing appreciation is so special?  Because so few people do it. 

    You can set yourself apart and feel good at the same time.

    This has been a pretty stressful time for everyone.  We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond. Let’s try to respond the best that we can, and pump up those “essential” employees.