Do you know the one thing my momma never taught me? iPod etiquette. As a kid, my mom hammered home what it meant to be a gentleman. “Stand up when a girl enters the room.” “Always hold the door for elderly men or women.” “Make sure you give someone a firm handshake.” “Don’t put your elbows on the table.” “Ask questions, don’t just talk about yourself the whole time.” “Always open the car door for your sisters.” “Serve first, eat later.” She taught me what it meant to show respect to other people, which is, at its core, what it means to be a gentleman. And yet my mom never taught me how to use an iPod.

Now I don’t blame my mom for this because I didn’t get my first iPod until I was almost done with high school. My mom didn’t teach me iPod etiquette because I was almost out of the house before it even existed.

But today, while running down the street, I realized that we need iPod etiquette. During my jog, I passed several people – most of whom were elderly. Now normally I wave and say, “Good morning.” But today that felt weird. Today, when I passed people, waved, and said “good morning” it felt like I was being rude.

See, I had earbuds in and was listening to music on my run. Now what is the hidden message to someone I pass on the street? Let’s look at it this way. If I walked up to you while you were sitting at your computer reading this blog and said, “Good morning, how are you today?” You would probably look up and respond. But what if, when you looked up to respond to me, you noticed that I was wearing earbuds and listening to music? Would it change the way you responded? Would you feel like I heard or even cared if you were actually having a good morning? No, because earbuds communicate one thing, “I’m in iWorld right now listening to music. I can’t hear you. I don’t really care about you.”

Maybe I’m overreacting, or maybe not. But I think we need a new breed of gentlemen. I think we need gentlemen who learn iPod, TV, and Internet etiquette. I think we need gentlemen that are conscious of what their use of technology is communicating to other people, and doing to their relationships. Basically we just need a bunch of dudes to apply the basic principle my mom taught me as a kid, “being a gentleman means respecting other people and showing them that respect.”

So I leave you with a question, how can we use technology and iPods in a way where we show other people respect? Comment below and continue the discussion…

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