Common Courtesy Goes a Long Way

It always amazes me when people do not realize when they are being discourteous. They may just not know any better. As I interact constantly with adults and kids in the community and the world, you would be surprised at how many really do not know any better. While some of my advice below is meant to be humorous, it is also serious. I encounter these situations daily, and it is irksome. Here are a few tips that I would like to share with you regarding personal courtesy.

  • When asking someone for something, please use the word “please”. This is what we teach our children, unfortunately, some adults have still not learned this.
  • If you do not hear or understand what someone has said, do not say “huh” – instead, please say “excuse me”, or “pardon”.
  • Do not refer to humans as “hey”. “Hey” is for horses, dogs, birds, insects, reptiles…. Just recently in the community, someone called me “hey”. I promptly asked the person, “what did you call me?”, and he/she apologized immediately. Did he/she know better? Yes he/she did, but he/she thought he/she could get away with it.
  • Never, ever, ever, show someone your middle finger as an insult; if want to insult someone, use words. Better still, keep those words to yourself.
  • When sending someone an email, always begin with a salutation such as “Dear Joe”, “Hello Joe”, etc. You may also want to check to see if the person is still alive first, with a statement such as “I hope you are well.” You may skip this only if you are in a back-and-forth conversation.
  • Always say “thank you” when someone does something for you; this includes waiters and waitresses, flight attendants and others.
  • When talking on the phone in a public place, please keep your conversation to a minimum and as private as you can. Most people do not want to hear your mess!
  • It is plain rude to hold an extended phone conversation when you are in the presence of others. Just simply say, “I will call you back.”
  • When at a public place such as a store, and you walk in front of somebody who is looking at items on a shelf, say “excuse me”.
  • Say “excuse me” when you interrupt someone who is speaking; better yet do not interrupt people! That’s just rude!
  • Last but not least, when you pass anybody on campus, please say a simple “hello.” You can try that is public, but some people might think that you are just weird.

Life is about relationships and the nicer and the more courteous we are to others, the better this world will be for all of us. The above advice is of course not meant to be exhaustive, but this is all I could think of at this time.


A Tribute to Charles Silver Wolf and Native American Heritage

Charles Silver Wolf was my friend. He died a couple of months ago and I found that out only earlier this month. He was a Native American/American Indian, and I find it appropriate to write this tribute to him during this Native American Heritage Month of November.

Silver Wolf, as I called him, was a mild mannered individual who had a calm and giving spirit. I met him a few years ago when I joined the Turtle Island Dream Keepers – a Native American Group that meets here at MCCC every month. Silver Wolf would bring me symbolic Native American gifts from time to time and gifted me with a leather bound collector’s edition copy of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. The book recounts the struggles encountered by American Indians as their land was being settled between 1860 and 1890. After reading almost half of the book, I was unable to read any further because of the violence perpetrated against American Indian women and children. I just had to stop reading it. He inscribed a note in the book that read, “To Kojo, my friend and brother, Charles Silver Wolf.” He will be missed.

I remember my conversations with Silver Wolf were educational, edifying, and illuminating.  He was a gentle and caring soul and was always willing to impart knowledge in a kind and understanding manner. Silver Wolf was a member of our county-wide Diversity Committee and was always willing to share his thoughts and knowledge in a non-accusatory manner.

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November, we have a display in the hallway of the A Building.  Silver Wolf used to provide the material for that display and decorated it himself every year. We found out of his death when we reached out to him for display material. May his soul rest in peace.  There will be two presentations this week on Native American Heritage here at MCCC, please check our website and email for details.

When I found out he had died, I called his wife, who told me that he had been in ill health for some time and died in his sleep. He asked that no obituary or announcement be printed and was cremated per his wishes.

Silver Wolf is no longer with us physically, but he is with us in spirit as we celebrate his life and legacy and the heritage of Native Americans this month and every month of the year.

Remember Others During this Thanksgiving

This is the time of year set aside for thanksgiving. Indeed, we must give thanks year-round and on a daily basis. I give thanks every chance I can get. In these difficult and trying times when there is so much tragedy and strife around us, we must pause to reflect on our many blessings. But even as we do that, we must continue to keep those less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers. There are those who have been devastated by natural and man-made disasters in Mexico, Florida, Houston, California, Iran and Iraq, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Syria, Las Vegas, Texas, and so many more.

When I began writing this blog, I was going to provide a list of all what I/we should be thankful for, but remembering those less fortunate is the direction my thoughts took. We have all suffered some tragedies in our lifetimes (I have known my own very recently), but we must continue to keep others in our thoughts and prayers, because no matter how bad it may seem, there are many who are less fortunate than we are, and as long as there is life, there is hope. We must remember the less fortunate during this Thanksgiving Season.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Local Elections: What a Difference a Year Makes

Local Elections: What a Difference a Year Makes

Today is Election Day. I went out and voted first thing this morning. I was relaxed, felt no anxiety, and was one of only two voters at the polling station – I was number 19 just after 8:00 a.m., after the polls had been open for an hour. Contrast that with last year when I was a bit anxious and had to stand in a long line. So what is the difference between this year and last year? Here are a few differences:

  1. Last year was a general and national election, this year is a local one.
  2. I hear the Russians tried to influence last year’s election, this year they have not.
  3. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were involved in last year’s election, this year they have decided to stay out of it.
  4. For some strange reason, I spent time campaigning last year, this year, I am taking a break from campaigning and focusing more on eating in Cuisine 1300 on campus.
  5. Last year, MCCC was on the ballot, this year we are focusing on renovating our campus.

What a difference a year makes. Local versus national, it really does not matter, we need to exercise our vote. Tomorrow we will know the results. Some will celebrate, others will know the agony of defeat. We have experienced both here at MCCC, and I prefer celebration.