I had to make a quick trip to Amarillo, TX this last week. I spent a lot of my life in Amarillo and Lubbock but I don’t get back there often. However, every time I do go back there, I am always pleasantly surprised how nice everyone is.
I haven’t traveled the whole United States but I have traveled a lot. I have discovered that most places in the United States are filled with nice and decent people. I have never come across a place in the United States where the people were generally rude (yes, I have been to New York several times). I live in Valdosta, GA and the people here are much nicer than average.
What Is It About West Texas?
But there is just something about West Texas that is amazing. Every time I am there, it seems like everyone I come in contact with is so nice. I always come away wondering why West Texas appears to be, at least from my experience, the nicest place in the world. I have several theories and I am not sure which ones are accurate. Here are some of the things I think that may contribute to the people in West Texas being so nice.
The first thought that comes to my mind is that the crowds are thinner. That means there are less people to get into your space. When I was at the Atlanta and Dallas airports, people were everywhere pressing upon everyone. But the Amarillo airport was spacious with a lot of breathing room for everyone. Crowds may make us have our guards up a bit more and West Texas has smaller crowds.
Another thought I had is that the challenges of West Texas just brought people together for so long that it became part of their culture. Sometimes the weather can be harsh, the ground can be hard, and the economic forces can have their ups and downs. Thus, even though people in West Texas are fiercely independent, they also have an appreciation for one another. Their culture has always been one of reaching out to one’s neighbors.
A third thought that I had is that it may just be the good ol’ Texas pride. As a group, you won’t find any people in the world who are prouder of their state than Texans are. Perhaps in different parts of the state, that Texas pride manifests itself in different ways. Maybe in West Texas, people are too proud to be rude. It makes them feel good about themselves to treat others right.
Finally, I have also wondered if it is part of the Christian fabric of the West Texas society. West Texas has a strong and deep Christian presence. Christ teaches us to treat others as we would want to be treated. At some point, in a place where Christians abound, I would hope that it would affect how others treat their fellow travelers.
Take a Little West Texas With Me Wherever I Go
My guess is that the friendliness of West Texas is a combination of these factors and several that haven’t crossed my mind. Every time I visit West Texas, I am challenged to look at the man in the mirror and see if I am treating others the way I should.
Do I let the crowds make me take the people around me for granted? I know it is easier to be nice to all my students in a class of 25 than in a class of 300. I also find it harder to be nice in a crowded airport or a big city than in Valdosta.
Am I the type of good neighbor that I should be? Actually, I don’t even need to ask that question because I know the answer is “no.” It isn’t that I am a bad neighbor. I am just a neutral one. I don’t think a lot about the people around me and they don’t think a lot about me. But is that the way I should be? Probably not.
Do I take the effort to be as nice as I should be? Certain types of pride are bad but others are good. I should be too proud to be rude. It should embarrass me to not treat everyone in the nicest way possible.
Finally, do I interact with everyone the way Christ would want me to? Every person I bump into is loved by God. Who am I to treat them with anything less than with the utmost respect and kindness.
Thank You West Texas
I am glad I am from West Texas because, for various reasons, I seem to occasionally make it back there. I am always a better person for having visited Amarillo or Lubbock. I doubt if the people who live in West Texas realize just how nice everyone in their part of the country is. It is like the old saying that fish don’t realize they are in water. I am not sure I realized just what a special place West Texas was when I lived there. But I certainly realize it every time I go back.
Category: Connecting with Others Tuesday, February 7, 2017