Our dog, Piper, has a daily habit of coming to our kitchen window just as soon as she hears us moving around in the house. She stares us down through the window, and if we ignore her, she raises her paw and taps on the window. She knows this works.
If I don’t get up then to give her a doggy treat, she continues to stare; then licks her chops really hard; very accented. She has this habit, and knows how to get what she wants. And sometimes she just wants attention and love.
Habits. They are funny things.
Over the years, our society has developed new habits. A recent example is carrying a mask, then remembering to turn around and go back to the car for that said mask, if a store insists we wear one. And this is just a start.
I often wonder what our grandparents would think. Remember, they were the defenders and supporters of tradition, manners, daily routines, and freedom. What would they say about our modern day habits?
Our dress habits would be their first visual. People dress like vagrants today: pajamas in public, hats on in restaurants, holes in jeans, pants dragging down below the crotch, underwear exposed, tats covering most of the visible flesh. They would stare with mouths agape, that’s for sure.
I recently watched a video of a large church service in Johannesburg, South Africa. There must have been 3,000 at the service. It was primarily a black church, but mixed with other races. The people were beautiful; and dressed like we should all dress. It was a feast to just watch the service and see those many beautiful, classy, well-dressed folk.
What their opinion of America must be when they see the way we dress.
Carrying and maintaining a cellphone is another modern habit of our society.
We have had to learn to keep track of our cellphones. We now must remember where we put them. Are they in our pocket? In the car? On the kitchen counter? In our purse? And we are learning, developing the habit, of charging them regularly.
Oh, we haven’t? Excuse me. You are right. Oh, and we don’t know where we left our phone? Oops. Better keep working on that one.
We carry our phones with us like they are a life-or-death necessity. While in a restaurant with others, we might pick up the phone when it rings. Or we sit as a family while our kids text on their phones. We have developed a habit of insensitivity to proper etiquette or meaningful conversation.
So, we might need to ask. “If Piper the dog knows how to manipulate me to a new habit, then are we being manipulated the same way as the media or technology dictates? Does the tail wag the dog? And can we affect the habits of this society by rethinking some change?
Just some thoughts to consider.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.