February 22, 2017

Simple Words

“Hello, nice to meet you…goodbye and don’t forget your please and thank yous,” words such as these tumble out of our mouths without too much thought in countless moments of our lives. People might call it etiquette or the social norm, since each member entwined in society’s web has established this same routine from infancy. Social norms are what they are because it is deemed acceptable; however having been made social norms, some can say they have lost their original purpose.

Sitting at school, during social gatherings, within our homes, and every place you or I can list have all witnessed repetitions of the previous words and others like them. As humans we all develop habits. In fact they can be developed in approximately 21 days. Consider the number of days in our lives we have spent saying those words, from early stages of speech to today. Society says we should make a habit out of it, but habits are done almost subconsciously. Saying greetings and pleasantries should be done with more thought by the speaker so we don’t forget their connotation. It takes me at least 25 minutes to walk to school. You might wonder how that is relevant. I have routines within routines like every other person. This is just an example of one of them. Within the amount of strides it takes me to reach school I make numerous observations. Once we see something, we can’t help but have an opinion or thoughts considering it. Most observations are ever changing and others remain the same.
There’s an elderly lady I see walking her dog almost every morning at the same point of my route. Through this simple encounter with a stranger I have discovered just how much more substantial and valuable words can be with more thought. Our actions stem from words spoken and unspoken. Therefore, if we take care of the roots, we can keep our actions genuine as well. Each time I see her I make sure to exchange a smile and simple “good morning.” All of us have probably said “good morning” thousands of times. We don’t truly realize the effect they have on strangers, no less the people in our lives. I don’t know the name of the stranger I see on my walk to school, maybe one day I’ll ask, nonetheless I certainly have learned a lot from her and have been able to see social norms at a different angle.

I can’t generalize the 7.125 billion people in our world. There are certainly those who forget their pleases and thank yous, there are some that don’t see them necessary, and even the best of people can forget. All I can say is that we are human beings, not robots programmed to say or do something because it is what’s socially acceptable. If honesty is the best policy we must acknowledge the true meaning and value behind our words and actions as well as not let the idea of social norms overtake the truth. It may be hard to believe, the magnitude the little things we do have, but that should never stop us. So let's take a moment to appreciate the ability we have to change the significance of simple words and make them more valuable.

Stay gold,


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