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Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in?

Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many people believe that our behavior should be consistent, that we should always be ourselves. They feel that we should not act one way with some people and another way with others. But is this right? Should our behavior always be consistent, or should we behave differently in different situations? Isn't behaving differently according to the people we are with or the situation we are in simply a matter of politeness and common sense?

Assignment: Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.


2013-2-5 22:29:24

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(3) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in?

As impossible as it may seem, people need to say everything they long to say. Through the good, the bad, the positive, the negative, and the mediocre, thoughts and opinions should always be voiced with tact. This implies most of all that one should simply tell the truth, in the most honest way.

I used to hold back my feelings because I was afraid they would make things worse. My consequence is that I lost one of the most important people in my life and three years later, I still wonder “what if?”

To protect the innocent, let’s call him Joe. Joe and I were best friends before we became an official couple. He was my first love, and though people may point out that teenagers are not capable of such a strong emotion, I have always believed that love is an ageless bond between people that makes them whole because they complete one another. Due to the fact that I had let Joe get so close to me, I was scared and vulnerable. With that, I led myself to believe that Joe would leave me for the next girl that would turn the corner. Instead of talking to him or trusting him, I became wildly jealous and picked a fight every chance I could find. Eventually, I pushed Joe far enough away that he decided to end it.

I have since talked to Joe and I am now at peace with the situation. From talking to him, I realized that we were always on the same page with each other but neither of us opened up to the other person because we thought it would diminish the relationship. There was so much that could have been said that would have changed how things went, and maybe things would have worked out differently, but the words were never spoken.

With the way things ended, Joe and I will never get back together. We are friends and I am glad that we could mature to that point. He and I will always hold a special place in each other’s heart, and not just because of the memories, but because we changed each other. I will never regret what Joe and I had. It caused months of pain and questioning, but it helped me grow.

In life, there are so many occurrences of disaster due to failed communication. I have held back telling people what I was thinking because of a fear of rejection, a fear of losing the person or the relationship changing, a fear of persecution, and ultimately the fear of the unknown. All of that changed when I lost Joe. Saying what you need to say means letting yourself be vulnerable to the possibilities because your heart just may lead you to a more promising future.

I once heard someone say, “Of all the words in tongue or pen, the saddest are those it might have been.” I do not know the reaction to my thoughts from others beforehand, but at the end of the day, I am not left wondering “what if?” anymore.

Thanks Joe.


2013-2-5 23:13:57

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in?

Being able to recognize the situation or applying tact rightfully is one of the most important things that people in a position of authority should possess. There are many situations one can think of regarding this. For example, what one should be ready to say is, “I made a mistake.” Where relevant, this should be followed by, “I’m sorry if it caused you pain. Is there anything I can do to make this right?”

I first learned this lesson at the hands of Alcoholics Anonymous. The tenth of the twelve steps says, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” It was not an easy lesson for me – someone with lots of college degrees and not much humility. Tact and diplomacy were not among my strongest attributes, so I ended up having to apologize for my poorly considered comments frequently. But alcohol had made a fool out of me, so I was willing to try following the directions of others with less education and more sobriety.

It’s been nearly 25 years since alcohol made a fool out of me, and today I have the privilege of serving as Executive Director of a nonprofit that helps families leave welfare. My work involves regular interactions with staff, clients, funders, Board members, volunteers, and staff of other human service agencies that also serve our clients. I speak to civic groups and legislators. I write newsletters and proposals. I attend staff meetings, committee meetings, and interagency meetings, and I usually have opinions to share. Sometimes my passion exceeds my tact, and people take offense. Sometimes I’m just wrong.

The value of promptly admitting error was forever proved to me several years ago. I had written a newsletter that was widely distributed, then left on vacation. I returned from vacation one hour before my monthly Board of Directors meeting to find a petition signed by all of the frontline caseworkers at the local Social Services agency. They took exception to something I had said in the newsletter. The specifics are unimportant, except to say that they thought I’d called them unprofessional. They were hurt and upset.

In the hour I had before the Board meeting, I made copies of the petition for all my Board members, drafted a response letter that started with “I’m sorry,” and a plan to contact everyone individually to try to clear this up. My Board was very supportive. Instead of criticizing my failure to see how the newsletter would upset people, they praised the plan of corrective action. Many of the case workers I talked to were very appreciative of the time I took to try to undo their hurt feelings. But the thing that I remember most was something one of my staff said to me after the Board meeting. “I have never been so proud to work for you,” she said.

I am still sometimes brash and opinionated. Like anyone in authority, I make mistakes. To this day, I have never regretted the lesson I learned so long ago, to admit when I’m wrong – promptly – and to do what I can to correct any damage.


2013-2-5 23:10:46

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in?

I believe in sensitivity, tactfulness, and actions based on the real world demand and situations. I can not count the times when I have been put down by my fellow humans, all because of a serious lack of sensitivity to others and absolute sense of selfness. What really bothers me about today’s society is that some people feel the need to say exactly what they are thinking completely neglecting other people's feelings, at any given moment. I understand freedom of speech, but some people have a complete lack of tact when it comes to voicing their opinion.

Whenever I think about this topic, a name pops in my mind: “Emily”. Emily was a stubborn, outspoken girl from my school back in Georgia who was convinced that she was always right about everything. One particular incidence that repeated itself several times throughout my senior year of high school always goes through my head. I had told her about my future plans, specifically what I intended to major in, and where I wanted to live after settling into a job. I wanted to (and still do) major in Pre-Mortuary Science, and then live in Ohio for the rest of my life. Emily did not approve of this, and she told me every time. She said that just because her aunt doesn’t like her job of skinning cadavers at the Ohio State University, then obviously I couldn’t be happy preparing them for a funeral. She went on and on about how she hates Ohio, Georgia is so much better…blah, blah blah.

Because of Emily, I have a newfound respect for sensitivity. I try to encourage people in whatever they intend on doing with their lives. The best thing to do is to realize that not everyone is made out of stone. People have feelings, and some are more fragile than others. Insensitivity makes it hard for introverted people to open up, as if they didn’t have enough trouble doing it already.

The thought of living in a world where everyone is pleasant to one another is one of the most enjoyable thoughts I could have. I know that this thought will never become a reality. However we can all make a difference by doing the smallest things that require hardly any effort, such as smiling, or saying “have a nice day” to someone.

I realize that the majority of our world will remain unkind, insensitive, and tactless. However, I try to do the best I can and make everyone feel like their opinion means something. For now, give someone a smile. They will appreciate it.


2013-2-5 23:06:43

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

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