Yesterday I went to renew my drivers license and after being away for a year I did not realize that the office had moved. So, a planned, (very short), walk to the renewal office became two, (very long), bus rides across the city of Coquitlam into Port Coquitlam. But this isn’t a post to whine or complain, rather it is to say ‘Thank you’ to the everyday bus-goers of the city I call home. It was at the very first stop that I noticed the start of a trend.
A young lady took the bus only one stop from the station then stood at the back doors to get off. When the bus stopped and the back doors opened she paused and said in a loud voice for the driver at the front to hear, “Thank You!”
On my 4 bus trips I think I heard ‘Thank You’ to the driver at least a dozen times. This got me thinking about the reading and watching of the news I’ve done recently, (something I rarely do except on holidays). Earlier this summer I read about a bus driver that had been attacked by a passenger. I don’t remember the details, it was one of a number of depressing things that I read, forcing me to put the paper down in disgust. Some bus driver in a far-off city gets harassed and it’s news, but wonderful thankful people are never mentioned. They may not be ‘newsworthy’, but I’d like to think that they are ‘blogworthy’!
A couple days ago I watched the late night news and the two headlines on Canadian National news were 1: The high incidents of drowning this year, and 2: A shooting in Connecticut, USA, by a disgruntled beer and wine wholesaler employee. Depressing.
So to end ‘Part 1’ of this post, ‘Thank you’ to the wonderful people of Coquitlam for being so kind and uplifting! I too gave the bus drivers an inspired ‘Thank You’, and my last one was followed by several others as we all departed at the final stop of the run. And a big, ‘No thank you’ to newspaper reporters and newscasters who drivel on and on about all the evil in the world. I’ll stick to blogs and twitter for my information and take a pass on reading and viewing news about countless tragedies and disasters and perhaps, if I’m lucky, one ‘feel good’ report. There is too much good in this world to have you shift my attention away from it.
— Part 2 —
I’m currently reading a book called Disrupting Class, by Clayton M. Christensen, and one of the key messages early on is that schools have done a remarkably good job over the years, but the measurements we use to judge them keep shifting. To use a sporting metaphor, they keep moving the goal posts… with ‘they’ being parents, policy-makers and society in general. The shift to greater and greater standardized testing has compounded this because we are on a shift away from that kind of learning being important, but the goal posts have not shifted away yet. However if you read ‘the news’ then schools are filled with failures on every level. Meanwhile, my news feed is filled with wonderful teachers and amazing projects.
So ‘Thank you’ to all the amazing teachers in my network that I learn from whenever I get online, and ‘No thank you’ to people who complain about ‘the system’ and ‘failing schools’ who don’t actually try to do something about them.
— Part 3 —
I remember watching The Razor’s Edge years ago. Bill Murray plays Larry Darrell a taxi driver ‘in search of himself’ who at one point serves as an ambulance driver in World War II. His partner/co-attendant Piedmont is a sour man that is bitter and unpleasant.
If memory serves me correctly there are also two wonderfully optimistic, volunteer, British ambulance drivers that work with Larry and Piedmont. In a scene, these two happy-go-lucky ambulance attendants have engine trouble as they attempt to bring injured soldiers to safety while under fire. Stalled, the Brits attempt to repair their ambulance while enemy fire pinpoints their stationary location. Bombs get closer and closer until they blow up the ambulance, killing these two men. Larry is distraught and the bitter Piedmont says a few kind words about how nice these two were and then says, to Larry’s disgust, “They will be forgotten.”
Later, Piedmont is killed (I don’t remember how), and in a monologue Larry talks of this unruly, unkind and cantankerous man and then says, “He will be remembered.”
I was still a teenager when I saw this movie but it has a powerful lasting affect on me. I realized then and there that we tend to pay far more attention to people and things that are negative and annoy us than on the things we should be happy and appreciative about. I’d like to think that this is learned and not human nature. We don’t have to focus on the negative, and we are better people when we don’t.
— Epilogue —
So I’ll take heed of lessons learned and avoid the “No Thank You’s” as I bring this post to conclusion.
“Thank You” to the bus-goers of Coquitlam for inspiring this post. Thanks also for reminding me of the valuable lesson Bill Murray taught me so long ago.
“Thank you” to the amazing people in my digital network that inspire and teach me. You make lifelong learning fun!
And, “Thank you” to those that read my blog and to those that take the time to comment. I appreciate the conversation and the encouragement.
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard