A couple months ago I heard someone on the radio talking about how they had resolved years earlier to “be a person first.” No matter where he was, what position he had, or what role he was playing–he would be a person first.
When I came home I looked up the phrase, and I found that it’s based off the “Person First” language recommended by the U.S. Advocacy groups for people with disabilities. Anyone with a disability should be seen and treated as a person first before their disability. For example, Mary isn’t a Down Syndrome woman; she’s Mary, an adult with Down’s Syndrome.
I found myself thinking–wouldn’t it be nice if we all decided that was our position. No matter what our title is, what position is held, or what role we’re in at the moment, we’d treat everyone as a Person First.
So many times we’re known by our job title or what we do. Because of this we aren’t Jane or Jennifer or Bob–we’re the “Engineer down the hall,” or “that Secretary to the department head,” or “that spanking author,” or “that woman security guard.” Wouldn’t it be awesome to be known as “Jennifer the really kind woman who smiles all the time” or “Bob the man who always says nice things about people.”
And on the flip side, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone care about who you are and not your title? I’m amazed at the amount of people who don’t know the name of the security guard at the front desk, don’t know the name of their mail carrier or garbage men, or the name of the cleaner who empties the trash at their desk every night. Ask them their names. Learn about their families and personal things in their lives. Stop at the desk and ask them how they’re doing. And listen, really listen.
Treat them as A Person First–title and job function second.
Be a Person First before your Role. What do I mean? Well we get so caught up in the role of Husband, Wife, Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, PTA Mom, T-Ball Coach, Cub Scouts Dad that we forget the original reason we’re in these roles. Love and devotion. We’re in these roles to love and respect our parents. To love and cherish our spouses. Care and love our children. We join leadership roles in our children’s area of interest, to support them and show involvement. In the process, it becomes a competition–again. If we keep our eyes on being A Person First and treating others as A Person First, the right order is attained.
In this New Year 2015, lets resolve to Be A Person First. We’ll treat others the way we want to be treated. One act of kindness a day–to our children, spouse, coworkers, and friends. Let’s all vow to treat each other by our names and personalities first, then our title–we’ll treat each other with words of affirmation and encouragement or with a deed of kindness.