Every year, my New Year's blog is a list of Top 20 moments from the previous year. But there's just no need this time. 2017 will go down as the year I spent months in the hospital while my daughter healed, scrolling through my phone's news feed, watching as the United States grew more and more divided.
Enough about that.
This year, I'm writing a list to my kids. If 2017 taught me anything, it's that we need to restore basic human decency now more than ever. Let's see if we can't do a better job of it in 2018. So my dear Reader, and John and Johanna (whenever you're old enough to read), I give you:
MAMA HURD'S TOP 20 RULES FOR DECENCY, 2017
1) When someone is talking to you, listen. Allow your response to be shaped by what you heard. Don't make their story about you.
2) When a person invites you to dinner, ask "What can I bring?" It's classy. Be classy.
3) If somebody you know loses a loved one, pick up the phone and call. Don't respond to a death in text.
4) If you're in line at a grocery store with a full cart, and the person behind you has just a few items, let them go ahead of you.
5) Look people in the eyes. Particularly the homeless, the handicapped, and those who aren't as fortunate as you. We're all human, and you're not better than anybody.
6) Take compliments by saying "thank you."
7) On that note, mail thank you cards when you feel grateful; they still mean something.
8) Don't use 4 letter words to make an impact. They make you look stupid, not strong. Be smart: use perspicacious words.
9) Be mature by apologizing when you make a mistake or hurt somebody's feelings. Only weak people don't say they're sorry.
10) Providing nobody is getting hurt, do not judge another cultures' customs. Those would be your customs too if you were born into their family.
11) Don't ask non-drinkers of alcohol if they'd like to drink some alcohol. You don't know the story there.
12) Pick up other people's litter. Make the world cleaner. Recycle. Use renewable energy when possible. Realize and respect your impact on the planet.
13) Talk to kids intelligently. Even the smallest of us don't like to be patronized.
14) On that note, talk to your elders intelligently. Even the oldest of us don't like to be patronized.
15) While you're driving, let people merge. We all have to merge sometimes. Let people in.
16) Let people in emotionally too. It's ok to share your real feelings. Honesty is awesome.
17) Don't talk when you're angry. Wait to communicate until it passes.
18) If somebody else is angry and doing something that hurts somebody else, ask them kindly to stop until their anger passes.
19) Return your shopping cart to the cart corral.
20) Don't speak ill of the dead, even if that person wasn't very nice. Let them rest in peace. If you talk badly of me when I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you. Love, Mom.
P.S. Happy New Year!