Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Unless you're from this area or read the local papers, you probably haven't heard about the local school board president who faced very angry parents on Monday evening. She listened to their complaints and shouts and endured their threats, sometimes physical, while the board debated closing schools in Liverpool. After the board brought in their unanimous decision, she slumped over and passed away shortly thereafter.

I remember my days teaching, and even though I taught children who were diagnosed as severely emotionally disturbed and behavior disordered, their threats and anger did not affect me as much as the adults around me. Their parents - not a single one - ever spoke to me harshly. Some of the adults around me in the school were not as kind, to each other or to their students. They would have been the parents out of control at the school board meeting on Monday.

I genuinely treasure the civility I meet with in real estate on a daily basis. I appreciate the post office people who take my letters and boxes and mailings, offering to put stamps on when they see there's a pile of post cards to go out. My clients, I always say, are the best. They are usually under enormous stress and yet they find the humor in things and always greet me positively, even when I can bring them no good news. My sellers understand that these are difficult times and speak politely to me, noting that I do work hard and communicate with them regularly. Will they become the ranting and raging parents that might have hurried the death of the woman on Monday? I doubt it, even though they care deeply about their children's education. It's just not in them to treat others harshly.

This seems like such a blanket statement. I do encounter incivility on occasion, though not from my clients. Then I look inwards to find that turn of phrase to deal with it, both for me and the speaker. It's a work in progress - a lifetime goal.

But these days I look at houses not selling as rapidly as a few years ago, at obstacles - septic systems, banks, credit - further blocking sales and perhaps by-products of this economy, and wonder how my clients maintain their composure. But they do - they really, honestly do!