A Short Quiz:
- Do you hold the elevator for a person trying to catch it even when you are running late for an appointment?
- If the guy in front of you at a cash register unknowingly drops a $100 bill out of his wallet, do you hand it back or wait for him to walk away to surreptitiously pick it up?
- Would you charge people for gas when you are the designated driver?
- Do you feel compelled to correct a person when they are clearly exaggerating a story or don’t have the facts straight?
- When dividing up a restaurant bill, do you charge more to the people who ordered the expensive food?
A mensch is a Yiddish word used to describe a person of integrity, honor and noble character. Paraphrasing Karen Carpenter, what this world needs now is love, sweet love and a heck of a lot more mensches. How wonderful would it be if we all resolved to go out into our personal and business worlds with a sense of compassion, generosity and kindness? Our entire society would change for the better.
The quiz is designed to help you determine whether you might be a mensch. The real mensch holds the elevator, returns the cash, doesn’t ask for gas money, keeps their mouth shut and either splits the bill or just treats everyone to dinner realizing it all evens out over a lifetime. The mensch won’t correct every little detail and lets another person have their moment in the spotlight.
As a mother, I always appreciate when I send my 16 year old daughter out at night with a $20 bill in hand, only to get it back once I learn that her friend’s parents paid the bill. When I have a few extra bucks I take the kids to the movies, never let my daughter’s friends buy their own tickets and the snacks are on me. Granted, I might have bought the snacks at a convenience store instead of paying movie theater prices, but heck, what are a few candy bars between friends?
The world is a better place with Twizzlers for all.
Go forth and give the hothead maniac who is standing up screaming their head off at a ballgame the benefit of the doubt. His or her mother could be in hospice, and these tickets might be the best thing that happened to them all year. You never know what truly lies in a person’s heart. When you are stuck in traffic, let the slick dude in the jazzy sedan cut in front of you – it’s not going to make a difference in your arrival time. Let the frazzled mother with two toddlers use the bathroom before you. She needs it pronto, no doubt. It is good to be nice even when you don’t feel like it. In a true mensch’s heart you will find kindness and generosity of spirit.
I like to believe that every person wakes up in the morning hoping to be happy and to be the best version of themselves. We all want the best for ourselves, our spouses and the children of the world. We can learn to extend those good wishes to our friends, colleagues and that person asking the pharmacist stupid questions while you are waiting in line to pick up your prescriptions at Walgreen’s. Take a deep breath, count your personal blessings and be glad that the pharmacist is more patient than you. Wish that quizzical person gesundheit after they sneeze and mean it. Take your inner mensch off of the bench and put him in the game.