Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's the little things by Rodney Coates

I was inspired by these words from Mr. Coates, and he graciously agreed that I might share them with you here.

It seems that every time we pick up the local paper or turn on the TV -- the news, for those working, continues to be bad -- layoffs, furloughs, reductions in salary, budget cuts, plant shut downs, and the curtailment or suspension of services and programs. With all of this bad news, it would be easy to assume that it's all about the Benjamin's. While money is tight and while the economy continues to demonstrate its fragility --what people provide as employees is far more than what we can quantify economically. It is, in fact the intangibly and incrementally small sacrifices that many employees provide which is at the core of any corporate, institutional or community success.

All too often, when we look at success we fail to recognize or even reward the little things that so many employees do under the radar. What is success if not the policeman who helps the little old lady cross the street, the fireman who climbs the tree to retrieve the family cat, or the teacher who sits with a troubled child. Success is the nurse who reads to the comatose patient, the janitor who stays late to allow the kids to play an extra few minutes in the gym. It is also the coach who gives life lessons, the clerk who reminds us that we paid too much, it is the secretary who brings in homemade cupcakes, the agent who meticulously keeps our records, and the mail person who rain, sleet, snow, or hail makes sure that the mail gets delivered. And yes it is the delivery person, the trash collector, the cable installer, and the telephone operator --who smiled even when they were being disrespected, fixed the problem even when the problem was caused by us, and who worked diligently in some of the most difficult of circumstances to provide service to us. All of these servants, and those who are not mentioned here, should get more than a pink slip when times are hard, or ignored when times get better.

There was a time when our economy was in far worse shape than it is today, when we found more creative and sustained ways to show our gratitude. In the past we were more willing it seems to share smile, a thank you, and even the occasional apple for the teacher, the chicken for the pastor, or the box of candy for the mail carrier. In little but significant ways we demonstrated how much we truly appreciated all the little things that so many people did for us.

It is obvious that we have never been able to pay for all the little things that so many dedicated, loyal, and caring persons do for us on a continuous basis. These are the people that diligently serve, educate, protect, and inspire us. So, in these times of economic upheaval let us take time to value, reward, and acknowledge the little people. A smile, a kind word, a thank-you cost so little, but will mean and say so much. Try it and see, I guarantee that regardless of economic instability -- our communities will be enhanced.

{Rodney D. Coates is professor of sociology and gerontology at Miami University. He can be reached at}
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

No comments:

Previous Posts