A Good Tip


An Excerpt from Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink, by Mitch Rosenzweig

I am forever trying to calculate tips. It doesn't seem to matter how good or bad the service is, a tip of fifteen to twenty percent is expected - at least in this country. In Europe, it is a bit different. They just round up the bill and add a few dollars (francs, lira, etc.), regardless of the total. Although we like to think that it's a reward, it really isn't-at least not to the server. What started as an incentive ("to insure prompt service") is now critical to their livelihood. I can't even imagine making a living on the minimum wages that service workers earn. And of course, our generosity helps some servers to far exceed the minimum wage. I talked to a bartender in a mountain resort who astounded me with his earnings. But most of us don't begrudge gratuities. It's our way of alleviating the guilt for letting someone serve us.

If you think about gratitude, it is kind of a peculiar thing. We are supposed to be grateful for all we have, for all our gifts. But for many people, our prayers consist of what is still on our wish list - usually for things to get better...for the yuck to go away. Most of us do pray more for others than ourselves; at least, I think we do. But do we pray for those we don't know? Not usually. But there is so much around us to be grateful for, even if it is mundane and average.

We should spend more time being grateful in the here and now. Pay for what makes us happy with a smile, a thank you or a wave. If we go beyond social courtesy, what would that look like? More than kindness to strangers, but truly helping those that need it: to help the seekers find, the hurt to heal, and the tearful to find joy. Perhaps we should spend a large percentage of our gratitude doing just that.

So today, and each day, I am going to try to be grateful fifteen to twenty percent of the time. In my 16-hour vertical day, that equates to about three and a quarter hours. And if I can't, I'll try and remember how difficult it is to make a living without being grateful.

What a great tip!

In his new book Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink, veteran clinical psychologist and social worker Mitch Rosenzweig attunes his therapeutic sensibilities to his daily landscape and uncovers life lessons for us all - treasures gained by observing the ordinary from an often amusing, and always positive, perspective. This rich collection of 200 brief essays penned from his personal and professional observations delights us and invites us to grow into better, more compassionate human beings. For more information, visit reachingforinsights.com.