Sunday, May 15, 2016


In my current merchandising job it is sometimes ~difficult~ to be "humble and kind." I meet all sorts of people: kind, rude, arrogant, helpful, bullies, helpless, eccentric, loving, impatient, considerate; but mostly, indifferent. I never know who I'll meet at the Love's stores, the hotels I stay, the restaurants I eat at, general stores I shop.

And you know, I'm not always at my best/most friendly either. I've had days I've been bullied, over-worked and impatient, late, or just plain feeling sore and out of sorts. Its amazing how quickly those social worker/people friendly skills can desert me in this hectic, business oriented environment.

I am still listening to people's complaints with the expectation that I can "fix" whatever the "crisis" is: why did you order . . when do I get the newest . . I don't have enough . . I have too much . . I need  . . I want . . DON'T!

My employers have rules and policies; my customer have needs and desires. Where oh where is that happy medium?

Although my profession - and thus my "clients" - has drastically changed, I find my morals, values, world view, has not. This glass-half-empty girl still believes that people are mostly good, and given the right circumstances will show their best side. I've had store customers be more considerate and helpful than employees (though most customers will say "excuse me" and expect a name-tagged employee to move out of their path regardless of how full their arms are of product and how many different directions they could take around the stocking clerk), managers more willing to assist than the lowest paid clerk (mostly, vendors don't exist to management unless there is a problem), truckers that exhibit patience in long lines (even when on the interstate they hog the left lane by passing another truck doing 49 on a hill and they are cruising at 50).

One of the first lessons I learned as a social worker was the art of compromise in conflict. Someone has to set their needs aside, be flexible, and I'm pretty good at letting "you" go first, get your word vomit/emotional outburst expressed. Another lesson was to not be offended by rudeness; you never know what kind of day that angry/rude person was having before you showed up to take it out on. They may be having a worse day than you, and a kind word of understanding could make all the difference to them. Listen, acknowledge, accept. Resolution - not always happy, but at least satisfactory for all persons.

When I first heard the song HUMBLE AND KIND by Tim McGraw, I was in one of those funky moods where I wasn't sure I wanted to be in my job any more, despite the awesome pay. Traffic sucked, all the managers had complaints, the hotels were lacking certain comforts, my supervisor was doing the texting equivalent of rolling her eyes and gritting her teeth at my complaints. This is America damn it, speak English!  I was in my car, listening to the radio (finally found a country station) and this song made me cry. It was a reminder of all my temporarily abandoned values.

Phrases like: Let yourself feel the pride; don't expect a free ride, don't hold a grudge, hold the door, say please, say thank you, help the next one in line; all resonated with me. I had forgotten to STAY HUMBLE AND KIND that day (week). It reminded me there is a bigger world out there than myself. Sometimes the Universe has a weird way of getting my attention.

In an interview with Gayle Thompson (the Boot, Feb 20, 2016), McGraw says he "thought it was a song that needed to be heard" and “[McKenna] sent me that song. I guess I had it for a year and a half or so,” McGraw recalls, “and it was just her and an acoustic guitar playing it. The night that she wrote it, she sent it to me, and I listened to it over and over, and I just fell in love with the song and her version of it...I couldn’t get past her demo of her singing it. It was just so beautiful and so touching. If anybody’s ever heard Lori just sit and sing with a guitar, she could sing anything to you and sell it to you. It’s so beautiful what she does.”

Now, with an accolade like that - after hearing Tim McGraw's emotive rendition - naturally I had to find a publication of Lori McKenna singing her heartfelt song.

Try not to judge McGraw's official version by the video. A lot of work went into making this a personal/political statement, a statement about thoughtfulness and diversity. People matter. He says, "I was on the treadmill one morning, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this video, and Oprah [Winfrey]’s Belief series, the trailer for the series, came on. And I knew that’s exactly what I wanted my video to be.”

How about it BoTBers? Are you more compelled to stay "Humble and Kind" by Lori's simple guitar version?

Feel free to tell me how your week is going/gone in the comments, as well as your votes - if you are so inclined.

I'm an infrequent participant of Battle of the Bands, hosted twice a month by Far Away Eyes and Stephen T McCarthy; so don't look for my link on Saint Mac's site.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - people can be difficult at all walks of life and all levels - sadly the only one we know and can help to improve - is us. I too try to be civilised and polite and avoid conflict .. usually I manage - but it's a work in progress .. I adjust and see which way I can work round the angst I encounter or just not meet by walking round.

I love both the songs - but I prefer Tim McGraw's version .. though completely understand your wish for us not to dismiss Lori's version - they both deserve a lot of airplay.

Good luck ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I believe in the good in others as well. Yes, there are those who get caught up in their own little world and expect the rest of the world to move for them. But most still possess genuine care and are giving toward their fellow man.
Didn't judge by the video McGraw's voice was just better.

DEZMOND said...

Although I'd love to say it's not like that, I hate working with people :) I've met so many idiotic examples of the species while working as a professor, that now my book translating job suits me better because not only there are no people in it, but I also don't have to talk with anyone :)

Pat Hatt said...

People annoy the crap out of me, but if I'm being paid to deal with them, I can fake it. #2 gets my vote.

Sally said...

I've always been a Tim McGraw fan so his version is the one I would prefer.

Botanist said...

The world could do with a lot more simple human kindness. We all need reminding of that from time to time.

John Holton said...

I didn't understand the words when Lori McKenna sang the song, and her guitar playing grated on my nerves after a while. I had no such trouble with Tim McGraw's version. Tim wins this one.

Michele at Angels Bark said...

This is such a great song with such a great message. I liked Tim McGraw's version much better than Lori's so please give my vote to Tim.

Re: working with the public: I've done it and I don't like it! Sometimes I like it but it just blows my mind how rude people can be. It doesn't cost anything to be nice so I find it hard to believe how it doesn't come natural to more people. Oh well, that's why I like being self-employed. And the dogs are never ever rude! :)

Michele at Angels Bark

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Donna-dear, so glad you could join us this time around.

Wow! I've never heard this song before. It got me all teared up, sniffles, and such. It's really tough because both versions are well done. One is live and the other a stdio recording. this can be advantageous to one, and not the other.

Lori does a very sweet version, and I like the single guitar, but wait! Tim McGraw took it, for me, with that wonderful full orchestration.

I believe it's a great idea to treat others the way you'd like to be treated. Humble and kind says it all.

Thanks for posting this particular song. It is a favorite now!!

Cherdo said...

I've mentioned it from time to time: I love acoustic guitar and I think that Lori does a great job, but Tim McGraw's version is so much better, in my humble and kind opinion.

This is a seriously great song; I'd love to see more artists' versions. Great job!

Denise Covey said...

Dealing with people is always fraught, especially in your new career. In some ways it might even resemble social work, eh? I hope you have more good days than bad. I like Tim McGraw's version. He is a heartfelt-type singer. Great lyrics.

Denise :-)

Mary B said...

Welcome back to the battles of the bands, Donna!

The more I work with people, the more I despise people in general. As a result, I've become a bit of a recluse.

I liked both versions of this song, but I think I prefer Lori's version. Please give my vote to her.

Jingle Jangle Jungle

cleemckenzie said...

Love the message, so it's easy to listen to either version, but I'm going with McGraw.

Debbie D. said...

Customer service is a tough gig! I did it for almost 20 years and always tried to remain gracious. It can be difficult, though. I've also been on the other side as a customer and met some unhelpful and disinterested service reps.

Nice to see you participating in BOTB this week! ☺ My vote goes to Tim McGraw, based on the vocals and fuller sound.

Birgit said...

I give it to Tim McGraw because it was calmer sounding. Her voice was strong but it seemed to slice through anything and it was too sharp sounding for me

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I was talking with my friend, Meg, last night and part of our conversation broached the concept of compassion. Specifically, I was saying that there seems to be less and less of it in the world and that as a species, we are all suffering because as compassion decreases, anger, bitterness, and hatred of one another tends to go up.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Never heard this song before but it is very inspirational. In fact, it has inspired me to begin working on a Weird Al-like parody which I shall title "(I ALWAYS) EAT HUMBLE PIE".

Seriously, I really liked this song. And I liked the writin', too. It showed me a different side o' you, you Wild Thing you.

Also, your text illustrated something better'n anything else ever could.:

A lot of people don't understand the difference between Old School Country-Western music, Outlaw Country music, and today's Pop Country music. I can 'splain the difference in just one sentence...

>>... [Tim McGraw] says, "I was on the treadmill one morning, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this video, and Oprah [Winfrey]’s Belief series, the trailer for the series, came on. And I knew that’s exactly what I wanted my video to be.”

Now ask yourself this question:

"Can I imagine Hank Williams or Waylon Jennings on a treadmill and watching Oprah Winfrey?"

If the answer is NO, then you already understand the difference between Old School Country-Western, Outlaw Country, and Pop Country music, even if you can't necessarily articulate it.

OK, enough of my supernatural insight and ON TO THE BATTLE!...

This was a really good song and I really enjoyed BOTH recordings of it. I listened to both of them 3 times before finally deciding on how to vote.

97 out of 100 times, I'm more drawn to male vocalists than female vocalists (although remove the "vocals" aspect from the equation and I'm more drawn to females than males 100% of the time).

In this case, however, I'm going to side with LORI over Tim. Mainly because the song is an important but simple and direct message, and I think the more simple and direct treatment that LORI gives it puts it across a wee bit o' better.

>>... This glass-half-empty girl still believes that people are mostly good, and given the right circumstances will show their best side.

And I totally agree with that! I'm the same way, even down to the "glass half-empty" description. But, see, the thing is, THE Book tells us that God created us in HIS Image. How could anyone created BY God and in HIS Own Image not be good in reality?

Our problem is that we're living in a fallen world, interacting with a fallen world, and so we tend to lose sight of our REAL identity. Think about THAT over your next glass of wine, M'Lady!

Excellent, excellent Battle. I feel the score should be closer, but what can I do? I'm just one man, and not being a deceased Democrat, I'm only allowed to vote once.

~ D-FensDogG
'Loyal American Underground'

Janie Junebug said...

Aw, what a great song. I've never heard it before. I vote for Lori McKenna's heartfelt rendering of her composition.


Crystal Collier said...

I just realized it's been a long time since I stopped in and said "hi." I'm not a huge fan of country. In fact, I'm not a fan at all, but that doesn't mean I'll begrudge others from enjoying it.

Jeffrey Scott said...

I prefer Tim McGraw's version of this song. Usually, I'm a fan of female artists, but when it comes to country, for whatever reason I more prefer a males singing voice. Give my vote to Tim.
So, are you saying this is a one-off return to the BOTB?
I'm still doing so, but I'm taking the rest of the month off from blogging, outside of voting on fellow BOTBers.

Stephanie Faris said...

We actually had this discussion in my freelance writers' group this past weekend. One of my clients (on Sunday) snapped at me and I asked how other people maintain that happy spirit when you're being beaten down. People basically gave a, "You must always apologize" and blah blah that we all know. I meant, how do you deal with it INSIDE, not what you project to the world. Nobody has good advice for that, except maybe therapy or meditation!

A Beer for the Shower said...

Hey, welcome back!

I still believe most people are good. It just doesn't take much for one bad egg to spoil that perception. My temper would never allow me to work in any form of customer service. I'd lose my job in a matter of hours. So I envy anyone who has the patience to deal with those bad eggs, who always seem much easier to find in retail settings.

As for the battle, I liked both versions, but ultimately I like Tim's voice more than Lori's, so give my vote to him... even if he has an affinity for watching Oprah while running on a treadmill.

farawayeyes said...

Great song, great post. I love the sentiments of the song and I appreciate seeing you as you really are.

I've always liked Tim, even if he hasn't always seemed 'Humble', the kind part I don't really know about for sure.

Lori's version was nice also, but her voice kind of got to me after awhile. Give time my vote on this one.

Talk to you soon. Tonight I hope.

Robin said...

Glad to see you're back for Battle of the Bands.

I just heard this song fairly recently and fell in love with it. I think it's the best thing Tim McGraw's recorded in a while. Of course, it really helps when you have an excellent song from the start.

I was hoping I'd love Lori's recording (because she wrote it and all), but I had difficulty with the words. Or her voice. Or something. I can't explain it.

And I still love Tim's version. It's so simple and yet so strong. I understand every word. The timing is perfect so that I can process each sentiment before he moves on to the next one.

So, it's Tim for me. But kudos to Lori for writing something so amazing. I hope it makes her rich (as well as humble and kind).

dolorah said...

Thanks everyone for showing up and for your votes. I shall endeavor to tally them (looks like Tim by a landslide) and post again in the next few days. I'm still getting around to visiting everyone.

Have a great weekend all :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I will always believe in the good in people :) It makes living to much better...and I think I will vote for Tim's version as well.

Misha Gerrick said...

I love the McGraw version and its video.

Also, I understand what you're going through at the moment, from my years spent waiting tables. You get to do with all sorts and the best way to deal with it is not to let nasty people get to you and your ability to be happy and/or friendly.