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Get With the Program

Are you old enough to remember Ozzy and Harriet? If so, you will recall that only the children argued and then only in the most considerate and polite way. Everyone was thoughtful and, well, nice.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just think about how well you think other families get along with each other when they get together for a summer barbecue or a winter holiday. If you think they get along great or at least better than your family does, you have bought into what we might call the Ozzy and Harriet syndrome.

If that doesn’t work for you, take your imagination along with you to work. Picture a workplace where everyone is positive and in an up mood all the time. You and your coworkers are always thoughtful, considerate and, well, nice. It’s always a pleasure to go to work and a joy to spend time with your coworkers.

If you are still struggling to get up to speed with all of this, focus on your relationship with your parents, your significant other, your children, your friends or maybe even your neighbors. It’s an Ozzy and Harriet world. Everyone gets along just fine with everyone else and that is especially true for you. You are always easy to get along with and are a joy to be around. Ozzy and Harriet could have picked up some being nice pointers from you.

Alas, it’s not an Ozzy and Harriet world, at least not in any world I know about. I doubt that it’s an Ozzy and Harriet world in any world you know about either.

Let me ask you this. In situations from coworkers to neighbors, from children to siblings, what do you want to change? What would it take to turn each situation into that Ozzy and Harriet world we all secretly think may actually be possible?

If you aren’t sure what it would take, I definitely know the answer. Everything would be much improved if my coworkers would just be more cooperative, if my children would just be less childish, if my neighbors would just be more neighborly, if my friends would just be more considerate, and if everyone would just shape up and get with the program, my program of course.

What do you think? Would that work for you too – with your program instead of mine of course?

You are probably thinking that I’m going to be giving you some advice now. It would likely have something to do with you being more thoughtful, considerate and patient with other people. Perhaps it would include the caution not to be too reactive or quick to criticize. It might even include a few tips about how not to get pulled into conflicts or controversy. I’ll bet it would definitely include the advice my mother gave me to mind my own business and not to stick my nose into other peoples’ business. As she like to put it, “It’s a full time job just taking care of yourself.”

No, I don’t think so. Not this time. I’m going to give you some advice but not the useless advice you are expecting. Since I have no intention to shape up and get with your program, I think your best choice is to shape up and get with mine.

Now you know, so there you go.