Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Road Etiquette

During Lent we are often encouraged to do something that will deepen our spirituality or help us practice some virtue. In the Taegu  Diocesan Bulletin, a priest writes about a very simple act of kindness that takes little energy and yet has a great deal to do in making us more conscious of others.

When he received his driving license in 1996, there were fewer cars on the road and gas was a lot cheaper. He remembers hearing from his seniors and friends about the manners of the road--road etiquette. When, for instance, the driver in front moves over to create more space for the driver in back to pass, waving one's hand to acknowledge what the driver has done is considered road etiquette. This has nothing to do with law but merely a kindness, and he says it was like a promise that all would keep. But today, he says sadly, it is rare. There are those who turn on and off their emergency light when appropriate, but those who don't are by far the greater number.

Can we say this is a sign of a lack of concern for the other? Or, more likely, when driving, do we consider the other to be a stranger that we need not acknowledge? Our road kindnesses are disappearing, he says, as he remembers with fond memories "the good old days." In Titus 2:7, it is said "In all things, you yourself must be an example of good behavior." Christians have been called to spread the good news and to practice charity.

While we are sharing the roads with those with whom we have no  connection, Christians should not forget who we are, and even on the roads show concern and kindness to others. A wave of the hand is a small act but with it, will we not be showing our love and gratitude? he asks. Will it not make the roads of the nation that are so impersonal and lacking in concern, much friendlier and our driving less of a chore?

When we show others these little kindnesses, we are conveying an important message to others, who may feel overwhelmed by our busy and often impersonal world, that there is in fact some who will go out of their way to be friendly and appreciate their being here in the same world we live in. He would like Christians to be the leaders in this effort to spread "good will" on the roads of our country.

The word virtue is slowing disappearing in our society. 
Often, in Korea  we would hear the word 'way' which would be the equivalent of what we would mean by the word virtue. However, today we hear more about values, less so than in the States, but rarely do we hear the word virtue used outside of religious circles.

In Korea we talk about polishing or piling up the virtues, meaning that they require repeated effort to make them a part of who we are. They need to soak into our being is the way it is expressed. The effort of practicing the virtues of kindness, concern and love even on the roads of the country will make us more conscious of  the need to do this in all our actions.


1 comment:

  1. Each point you have mentioned is noteworthy. Having good manners can build our interpersonal relationships. thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your post.