“Compassion, Empathy and Human Dignity”
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service
The heart and soul of Server Not Servant are found in the chapter, Human-to-Human Service and Civility. Here is an excerpt from my forthcoming book:
As I immersed myself in this book, I soon realized that beyond the customer-server relationship, my mission is really to promote civility, common courtesy and compassion in all walks of life. That explains the sub-title, A Case for Human-to-Human Service and Civility, which is about co-existing, communicating with and responding to fellow human beings. We have an obligation and responsibility to be responsive to each other, and take care of each other every day, as we do during and after extraordinary circumstances that put life in perspective.
One of those extraordinary, and deeply troubling tragedies was the recent suicide of Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi. According to RU’s Daily Targum, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after learning that his roommate and a friend allegedly recorded and posted an intimate encounter between the freshman Clementi and another male.
USA Today reported that Tyler Clementi’s family issued the following statement through their attorney:
We are grateful that our son’s body has now been recovered. Funeral services will be private. Needless to say, public attention has been intense. We ask that our request for privacy in this painful time continue to be respected.
The outpouring of emotion and support from our friends, community and family — and from people across the country — has been humbling and deeply moving. We thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts.
We appreciate the continuing diligent efforts of people in law enforcement. We sincerely thank them and members of the media for respecting our privacy.
We understand that our family’s personal tragedy presents important legal issues for the country as well as for us. Regardless of legal outcomes, our hope is that our family’s personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity.
It is absolutely horrific to invade a fellow student’s privacy in such a cruel manner, and much worse, to broadcast it on the Internet. It is truly unconscionable, and yet we know that cyberbullying threatens human civility and dignity on campuses, in workplaces and even in middle schools.
In Sunday’s New York Times, John Schwartz writes, Teenagers “think that because they can do it, that makes it right,” said Nancy E. Willard, a lawyer and founder of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use. Impulsiveness, immaturity and immense publishing power can be a dangerous mix, she said.
I would add blatant stupidity and ignorance to the deadly equation.
We still have a long way to go when it comes to inclusion, empathy for and acceptance of anyone who is “different” than we are. “I have friends who are gay” doesn’t mean we know what it’s like to be gay, or to be keeping a secret from your family and everyone you know. We all harbor insecurities, vulnerabilities and differences, some more subtle than others. Beyond tolerance, we should be modeling and teaching inclusion.
This moving video by Ellen Degeneres has been widely circulated. Please take a moment to watch it if you haven’t seen it.
The following message accompanied Ellen’s post on facebook:
I just can’t be silent about this. I hope you won’t either.
I won’t be silent about this heartless breech of trust and Human-to-Human Civility, and I hope everyone who reads this blog won’t either.