Choices and Who We Are

dreamstime_xs_103257574My husband (Rick), granddaughter (Cassie), and I were in New York City recently.  While there, we took the subway to the Bronx Zoo.  We live in Wisconsin so taking the subway was an interesting experience.  As with most things, it made me think.

On the return trip Rick and I were sitting in the middle of one bench with Cassie between us.  A little further down from my husband was a young man.  There were several people sitting on the bench opposite us.  At one stop a woman with five young children boarded.  She told some of them to sit next to me and some next to Rick.  Rick and I both got up so that they could sit together.  I sat next to the young man on the end, Cassie slid down to sit next to me, and Rick remained standing.

As each child sat, he or she said, very politely, “Thank you.”  The woman thanked us.  I had the impression that she did not expect us to make accommodations for her and her family, but that she appreciated it.

Rick, who is in his 60’s, remained standing because there was not room for him to sit.  The young man remained sitting.

I couldn’t help wondering why this young man, apparently in good health, remained seated rather than offering his seat to the woman and her children or to Rick, who was much older than him.  In my mind, it would be the courteous thing to do.  Of course, there might be a good reason.  Maybe he had recently had surgery and was not supposed to stand for long period of time.  Or perhaps he just did not care about other people, or at least not about strangers.

Think about the choices different people made in this situation (including how the woman choose to teach her children courtesy).  What might that indicate about the people involved?

We make numerous choices every day, including choices on how we treat people.  Those choices are instrumental in determining who we become.  What choices are you making in how you treat people?  Are those choices helping you become the person you want?