Are Kindness and Manners the Same Thing?

I would say yes, and no. And this is going to get a bit spiritual today, but bear with me.

Liberty Mutual (no, I am not a customer) has illustrated this concept in their “give a little” commercial, the long form of which can be seen here.

Kindness can go above and beyond everyday manners, but manners, such as holding a door for someone behind you, can become an act of kindness. When you perform an act of kindness, it changes you on the inside. That warm feeling is how we, as humans, ought to feel all the time.  Sane, calm, peaceful, caring.  Not angry, critical, on edge. This feeling can bloom over perfect strangers and closest friends.  And its okay if its not reciprocated today.  Or even tomorrow. You are putting your karmic deeds out ‘there’ and you will reap the benefits.  With a happier heart, with less judgement, less anger.  And younger looking skin.  (Okay, I might have been joking about that last bit.)

This year, one of my resolutions is to pass on acts of kindness.  That doesn’t mean that someone has to be kind (or mannerly) to me first in order for me to, in turn, pass it on.  I can start the domino affect.  I want to keep in mind that an act of kindness is not just a “do it once and be done” resolution, but an everyday event.  The best thing about this, it takes the conscious decision to do it, and little else.  An act of kindness can be holding a door for the person behind you, providing a kind word or compliment to someone, smiling at a stranger, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for service, letting a driver in front of you in traffic.  No cost, no time commitment, no effort, except for the decision to do it.

Imagine how our world be if kindness became a habit.  If we “loved our neighbors as ourselves.” What change could be brought about in your neighborhood, your community?  And how might that grow? Kindness will almost never make the nightly news.  But that’s okay, because it can flourish right before your eyes.



Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my U.S. readers, happy Thanksgiving!  Being on the left coast, we are just getting ready to sit down to dinner here.  Today I am thankful for my family, the roof over my head, the food we are about to eat, and then food-c0ma ourselves into tomorrow, and the Seattle Seahawks.  Also being a PRIMcess, today I am thankful for the news these days that is bringing attention to the lack of civility that exists today in our world.  Maybe if enough people say that being cruel is not funny, that bullying is unacceptable, that snarky ALL THE TIME needs to stop, maybe then this world will be a little bit nicer, and we’ll all care for each other a little bit more.

My own personal hope for this evening, at about 8pm, to be exact:  That all those stores opening tonight for “Black Friday” hear crickets.  That no one gets killed trying to get a $100 T.V.  That NEXT year, these poor retail workers that are making less than $10 a hour will get to stay home with their families for the WHOLE day.  Tomorrow morning at 4am is plenty soon enough to practice the American tradition of “more stuff, more things, more, more, more.”

That, I will take seconds of, thank you very much!


Happy Birthday America! Flag Etiquette

“The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.”


Happy birthday to this great country!  As completely crazy and divided as Americans sometimes are (or at least ACT), I think if you sat most down, they would agree it is a lucky accident of birth (or a conscious act, for those who chose to come here) that we call ourselves Americans.  Although I have said, both publicly and privately, that I dream of living in England someday, I’m not talking about, like, FOREVER, or anything.  One of the most moving ceremonies I have ever witnessed is the swearing-in of new citizens at the Seattle Center every Fourth of July.  If your town has something like it, check it out!  It will give you a little extra pride in being an American.

Today’s post will take a special trip down etiquette history and how old-fashioned procedures are still in use today.  Most flag laws were written hundreds of years ago, with very little change.  For instance, the right hand over the heart for the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag dates to during Medieval times,, when the right hand was sometimes marked if you were a felon.  To raise, or draw attention, to your right hand was to show your honestly (or lack there-of) and became the hand of truth.

The quote above is directly from the United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1.  The flag, as a living thing.  It certainly makes the image of a soldier’s flag covered coffin seen in a different light, doesn’t it?  Perhaps a protective, and loving embrace?  Of the image of a country in distress, with the flag flying upside down.  A living entity hanging upside down gives the symbolism a much more painful, and dire, meaning.

Now on to some useful flag etiquette!

  • When flying the flag from a vehicle, attach it to the antenna, clamp the flagstaff to window, or drape the right fender or side.  Remember this as it relates to holding your right hand over your heart while saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • The flag can only be flown at night if properly illuminated. Otherwise, it should only be flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • Hang the U.S. flag above any other flag on the same flagpole.
  • Hang the flag vertically in a window or draped over a building, with the blue field of stars to the left as someone OUTSIDE the building is seeing it.
  • When The U.S. flag is placed next to or behind a speaker, such as a podium at the office or at school, the U.S. flag should be on the speaker’s right.
  • The American flag should be always be held upright and should never be dipped to any person or thing.  Anyone remember the brew-ha-ha over dipping the flag, or not, to Queen Elizabeth at the 2012 Olympic Games?
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it should be raised to the top of the staff.  Honestly, I am not sure I have ever seen this done, but will be watching next May, that is for sure!
  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary, and NEVER thrown away!
  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning.

Most importantly, let your flag fly this holiday.  Have  BBQ, watch a parade, thank a service member, and enjoy the fireworks tonight.