"Hey! One more thing! Let's be careful out there."
Sargent Phil Esterhaus
Hill Street Blues
One of my favorite shows from the 1980's was Hill Street Blues. In that show, one of my favorite characters was Sargent Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad). He would always conclude his briefings before the troops hit the streets by saying, "Let's be careful out there." I would like to offer up a variation to that theme. Every day, before going out the door, getting on the phone, or hopping on the internet, think of this instead - "Let's be kind out there."
One of my first managers had an amazing gift. He would treat everyone the same. Superior, subordinates, peers, customers, strangers. Everyone was treated the same way - with respect, professionalism, humor and kindness. Consequently, just about everyone liked him. In a day when most had a different persona for management, customers, or whomever, John did not. Through my career I tried to emulate that almost unique gift, but often fell well short.
However, the one thing that John did that really stuck with me was his kindness. Long before I heard the term "to disagree without being disagreeable", I saw it in action through John. In a day of high dollar negotiations where many a temper would run short, John continued to treat people on the other side of the table with honor, respect and kindness.
It saddens me when I see good people act poorly towards each other. In my faith, I am taught that all of us have value - a very high value in the eyes of our Lord. I have no problem at all with a spirited discussion, or even a civil argument. I do however, have a big problem when that discussion devolves into name calling or besmirchment of character.
As we go into Easter tomorrow, I will redouble my efforts to show kindness to all. I will endeavor to practice the Golden Rule and to remember how the Bible tells us to love. I will also try to remember that each and every person I meet has equal value, especially to me. Most of all, I need to remember this when I deal with anybody, likable or not - "You are a child of God, made in the image of the Most High, and I will treat you as such."