A Lesson in Stoicism
March 20, 2011 1 Comment
NYTimes Columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a short piece that describes his experiences in Japan. Maybe the best way to sum up their approach to politeness and “uncomplaining perseverance”.
For Gregory’s birthday, we invited his classmates over and taught them to play musical chairs. Disaster! The children, especially the girls, were traumatized by having to push aside others to gain a seat for themselves. What unfolded may have been the most polite, most apologetic, and least competitive game of musical chairs in the history of the world.
Look, we’re pushy Americans. We sometimes treat life, and budget negotiations, as a contest in which the weakest (such as children) are to be gleefully pushed aside when the music stops.
As a Southerner, I’d have to say not even I can claim this type of unrelenting politeness. Sure, we’ll practically stop in traffic to let people ahead of us, but no competing? Everyone wins? Looting is a national past time.