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Saturday, Nov 24 2012 12:04 AM

It Manners a Lot: All I want for Christmas is kindness, thoughtfulness

By Lisa Kimble

Still polishing off Thanksgiving leftovers? Set aside the drumstick and buckle up: The Christmas season is here with all the hustle, bustle and whiplash. It will be a bruising experience out there in the toy aisles and long lines. Civility will probably take a real beating. Although I'm too old to make wish lists for presents, I'll never outgrow being eternally optimistic that social graces will remain relevant, and will shine brighter than the North Star, especially in the days ahead.

More than a Miracle on 34th Street, new front teeth or a white Christmas, "It Manners a Lot" longs for a sleigh full of kindness and thoughtfulness. So, from my keyboard to Santa's ears, here's a holiday wish list that really "manners" a lot!

* A kinder, gentler social media. Just when you thought tweets and postings couldn't sink any lower, a new bottom appears on the screen featuring someone who is partially nude, impaired or touting something offensive. Let's all lose the vitriolic, nasty edge that is so common on Twitter and Facebook today. Think before you tweet. Remember that old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" The same should apply to Tweets and posts.

* A rise in popularity of the use of the trash can. It is heartbreaking to see such a flagrant disregard for our community. Diapers, wrappers and other trash belong in garbage cans, not on the center median of Highway 178. Imagine the savings in tax dollars used to clean our roadways. Not only is it a violation of the law, but aren't we as a community better than that? So many people have invested countless man-hours and tremendous resources to make Bakersfield a beautiful place. Trashing it is beneath all of us.

* Politics aside. It's been an election year many would rather forget. But let's remember that voters have spoken with their ballot. Let us all, with our words and actions, help in the transition of powers that lies ahead. These are tough times. But in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, may it be "morning again in America." Moving forward united in spirit is a good start.

* An avalanche of random acts of kindness. Why not let another car pull in front of you in the school drop-off lane, or let someone with one or two items leap ahead of your shopping cart. Paying it forward pays dividends to the recipient and the giver. This is the time of year that people will tend to loosen the faucet of generosity. Hopefully, it will spill over into the New Year, too. Give of your heart, time and talents, and dole out more compliments than complaints.

* Simmer less, appreciate more. Everyone's patience will be tested in the coming weeks. But that is no justification for being inconsiderate and ugly. Counting blessings has a way of taking the edge off any momentary angst. So who cares if half of the lights on the tree don't work? Can you imagine being victimized by a super storm and being without power?

* Good sportsmanship. From Little League to the National Football League, young people are modeling after us and the athletes they worship. Be a good sport. Anyone can win. How graceful we handle defeats and disappointments speaks volumes about character -- our own and the ones we're responsible for molding.

* Replies and thank-yous. If someone calls and leaves a message, return the call. If someone communicates electronically, respond. A dissertation isn't necessary, but the courtesy of a reply shouldn't be brushed off. Nor should a thank-you note. It only takes a few seconds to write, address and affix a stamp.

-- Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you'd like to read about to me at itmannersalot@bakersfield.com or visit itmannersalot.blogspot.com

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