Note: A slice from the lockdown portion of the pandemic with some flavor added to it.

Part One: 2020

Today, we worked a full shift today at our local food pantry and each time I’m in, I learn a lesson.

Today’s lesson: Regardless of your situation, being polite costs you nothing.

I joking told my wife that my new mask said “Talk to me today! I’m a good listener!”

This is food pantry that is run out of the basement of one of the the local churchs. It’s run through a staff of volunteers that saw a need in our community. With the pandemic causing so many problems with jobs, that need has exploded.

One of my main jobs since I’m one of the “young ones” (50 being young 😂) is to help families and individuals take their food out to their various vechicals. Today, almost all of the people that I helped had a story. One, it was their job had been lost because of the pandemic and they had to come here to get food. They weren’t happy about it, but happy about the fact this was offered, no questions asked. Another had lost their job a while ago and just was struggling. They worried about his kids and his mom, all three of which were living with him in his apartment. Another, a husband and wife with four kids, and one of them had lost their job and they were just barely getting by. This food would help them out greatly.

And I listened. And I smiled. And I was that ear they needed to bend about whatever. And it was ok.

Part Two: 2022

Yesterday, we were at Carver Hawkeye Arena for the Iowa women’s shocking loss to Creighton. It was like the air had been sucked out of the stadium and 14,000 were in shock. On our way home, we walked near some people who just kept railing on the team: “They can’t play defense,” “They can’t shoot,”  and on and on. After a while, I moved us away from them because I just couldn’t stomach the garbage coming out of their mouths.

Look, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. At that point in time, things were raw and I get that. But in this sea of gold walking back to car, vans, and home, show a little class, show a little emphathy, and just be polite. It take so little to say “wow, that was rough” and wait to get home before you start spewing.

As I grow older, those little things I’ve mentioned play a bigger and bigger role. As I looked at my email this morning, a student wanted to be moved away from another student. His way of letting me know, an all caps email saying he’d rather be in the office.


So we had a nice little talk before school about tone and attitude. I’m not sure he got it, but my main point was “be polite”.

If we keep demonstrating it, showing how we as adults can be polite, it might sink in with students. The problem is, in our current environment, adults are rude too.

So what do we expect if that is modeled?

But we keep trying because, that’s what we do.

And what else is there other than to keep trying?