Earlier today, I loosely got in trouble at work and while talking about it with my supervisor, she said, “Well, Mr. So-and-so IS a long-time connection with this office, but he is also a really crusty old man, so we take everything he says with a grain of salt.”

Since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about how many people I have encountered of the older generations who ARE “crusty,” by choice. They have scowling faces and grumpy attitudes and gruff voices and they choose to speak rudely and with belittling words. They have a strong sense that the world owes them something and if they don’t get their way, they stomp and storm and pitch a fit. I’ve watched them grow fierce, while they figuratively puff up, bare their teeth, and pound their chests.

I’ve also witnessed how much these people get done because people don’t want to put up with their attitude or be yelled at any longer by someone who doesn’t care what is going on in anyone else’s world. I’ve seen them get their way and have witnessed people breaking rules and protocols to appease them. I’ve watched (and experienced) people getting in trouble for doing their job as they’ve been told to do it all because this “crusty” person didn’t get what they wanted when they wanted it. And after all of this bending over backwards done by the person of a younger generation to give the older person what they want, it has rarely been received with grace, usually without a thanks, and most often with a, “it’s about time!”

As I’ve pondered this, I’ve thought about my commitment to gentleness, kindness, acceptance, allowance, and accountability. I’ve thought about how I pay attention to those who are serving me, those who are doing a job to make my life easier, those who are doing that which I cannot or do not want to do. Sometimes, I find it hard to be grateful when someone is moving slower than I want them to or not doing what I want them to when I want them to do it. Sometimes, I’ve wanted to be rude and crusty myself, too. There are times when I speak up, but I consciously choose to do it respectfully. Most of the time, though, I choose to silently pray for patience and send out love.

Now, I’m sitting here, wondering… if everyone chose to be “crusty” all the time, where would we be?

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