Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do we Value and Respect Those Closest to Us?

Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for best picture in 1990. The story line revolves around the relationship of an elderly Jewish woman from Atlanta, GA and her African American chauffer, Hoke.  Jessica Tandy won the Academy Award for best actress in a leading role that year.  Morgan Freeman was nominated for best actor for his portrayal of Hoke.

In one particular scene, Miss Daisy is going to a formal banquet to hear after dinner speaker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In a round about way, Miss Daisy asks Hoke as he is about to drop her off at the banquet if he would like to attend the event with her. His response was:  If you are going to invite me to go you are going to ask me “proper.” Needless to say Hoke did not accompany her to the banquet that evening.

Isn’t it true that all of us appreciate being asked “proper?” If someone asks us to join them at an event as afterthought, it is not affirming. One way we can affirm another person’s value is to ask them well in advance to accompany us to some social gathering.  If I have a friend with a birthday coming up, asking him to join me for dinner or a round of golf well in advance conveys that his birthday is important. I value him enough to make plans.

I love being spontaneous. And I am the most disorganized person on the face of the earth. But I try to think through how I can honor those I love well in advance on their birthdays or on other special occasions. My best surprises often take months to think through and plan.  It is great fun, but it requires advance thought.

I recall an event when some friends made plans to attend an event that my kids would have enjoyed. They secured their tickets and made plans weeks in advance. Two days before the outing I was asked if I wanted to bring my boys and join them.  At that point, I felt like an afterthought. I graciously declined. You could say that I was being hypersensitive, but I tend to think like Hoke. I appreciate being asked “proper.”  Let’s try this week to treat all of our friends “properly” and thus show them the respect they deserve.

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