Sometimes I think New Years Resolutions are the silliest thing - do people really keep them longer than a couple months? If it's something mundane like, "I resolve to make my bed immediately every morning," I don't think it's going to last. Yet at the same time, such resolutions show hope for humanity. If people continue to see each year as a new beginning to better themselves, then by all means, make a resolution.
Last year, mine was to look for positive customer service experiences, and bring them to the attention of management. Why? Because when people have a bad experience, they tell 12 people on average. When they have a good one, they only tell 3. (This is a statistic I read in a magazine once.) At my previous jobs, hearing my manager relay a positive comment from a customer was the most encouraging moment of my day. People don't take the time to spread good news. Customers, instead, think, "Well, they better treat me well - that's their job." Yes, that's true. It is their job. It's their job to deal with thousands of people every day. People in good moods, nasty moods, insulting moods, dumb moods. And all the while, the employees are expected to keep a smile on their face and not lose patience. They're not allowed to show frustration or stress. They're expected to be perfect saints from open to close and to treat the customers like saints as well (psh...entitlement). My resolution helped me be a better customer. If I was looking for good experiences, I would try to create them. It has been fun.
This year, my resolution will be more challenging. How can I sum it up? To not use children, especially my child, to talk to other people. It came to me a couple weeks back when I was shopping for some last minute Christmas gifts and overheard a woman "talking to" her grandchild. I put that in quotations because she wasn't talking to her, she was talking through her. She was trying to get the mom to answer questions by asking the little toddler. I've seen it before. The people I used to babysit for did it all the time to get information out of me. When they came home from work, they'd pick up their little munchkin and ask them, "Did you go on a nice walkie today? Did you go outside in the nice sunshine?" As if the six month old was supposed to respond, "Yes, we did." Instead, there would be a slight pause until I answered the question and said, "Yes, we did."
My husband and I do this all the time to each other.
Ian: Little Olive, tell Mommy I'm hungry.
Me: Little Olive, tell Daddy he knows how to cook too.
Ian: Little Olive, tell Mommy to not leave all the lights on in the house.
Me: Little Olive, tell Daddy that if I wasn't afraid of the dark the lights wouldn't have to be on all the time. (Suddenly that becomes Ian's fault.)
Though we do it on purpose and never intend on using our child as the nervous system of communication, I'd like to become more aware of how often I do it and stop. People are capable of talking to each other. They don't need a buffer, especially if that buffer is a little kid.
So the next time I want to give my niece a cookie and don't know if it's okay with the parents, I won't say, "Cindy Lu Hoo, I want to give you this cookie but I don't know if it's okay with your parents" loud enough for them to hear. Instead, I'll turn to them, look at them and say, "Mom and Dad LuHoo, I just want to make sure it's okay with you if I give her this cookie."
Look at that. Works like a charm. :)
Happy 2011, everyone!