Manners Monday: Broadcasting your good deeds… yay or nay?

For the most part, we all like to do good deeds. It’s more fun to be on the receiving end of that good deed, but doing something nice for someone else does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But you know and I know that another part about doing good deeds is that feeling of wanting to tell someone- ANYONE- about that good deed. But is that the right thing to do?

On the one hand, your telling another about your good deed could inspire them to do some good deeds on their own. They could then go out and perform more good deeds and the world ends up a better place because you took the time to do something nice… altruistic for another human being.

On the other hand, your telling about your good deeds could make you into a braggart and you could come across as making yourself out better than others. After all, Jesus does tell us “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” (Matthew 6:3) After all, the only true judge knows what you are doing at all times.

Maybe the answer is a mix of the two. If someone is looking for a way to help out others, give them some options of works that you have done or that you do. But you don’t have to tell them how often you have done that deed or the last time you did it. I can tell you, one of my favorite good deeds to do is… and don’t laugh… pay for the car behind me at Starbucks.

OK, I know that is not earth shattering or much in the realm of other good deeds… after all, the cynic in me realizes that those who are frequenting Starbucks probably have no problem affording Starbucks. But for me, the action is not one as an act of charity but rather an act of goodwill toward my fellow man. I guess the way I look at it is this: I don’t know what kind of day the other driver in that car is having. They could be having the best day of their life… they could be having the worst day of their life… and the simple gesture of buying them a cup of coffee could make a small difference in their life.

Maybe I am being overly dramatic, but it works well in my head.

So what are your thoughts?
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UPDATE: One CCM reader, Missy, took the MM post about mobile ‘phone etiquette to heart. Before reaching the sales counter at a well-loved St. Louis institution (which happens to be known by another name in other states) she wrapped up the phone call that she was on. The employee was so surprised by her action that she told her how infrequently that happens and happy it makes them, as employees, not to be ignored for the ‘phone. Missy was pleased by that news and even more pleased by the extra little treat she was gifted. Now does that mean that treats will always follow good manners? No, but it’s extra nice when it does!

UPDATE 2: This was posted on FaceBook by a friend of mine: After yet another very frustrating day of dealing with car license renewal, I just felt deflated. When [DS] asked me to go to DQ, I was all over it. Somehow, pumpkin pie blizzards would be the cure. Unbeknownst to me, our treat was paid for by the young man ahead of us. The lady in the drive thru window just said “pay it forward.” I’m sure that gentle soul doesn’t know what it meant to this worn-out, tired old mom. God bless you, kind stranger. It’s the first time I’ve had tears in my eyes while leaving DQ!


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1 Comment

Filed under etiquette, manners, monday

One response to “Manners Monday: Broadcasting your good deeds… yay or nay?

  1. Missy Welby

    Having lost someone to suicide, I have become painfully aware of the fact that every day we truely don’t know what is going on in someone’s life. I think too many times we underestimate the power of our interaction with other human beings. One kind gesture could truely give enough hope to save a life or on the other side one mean exchange could cause enough despair to cause all hope to disappear. Thanks for your blog. I love it. Will miss you in St. Louis, but look forward to staying connected via social media.

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