As we prepare for the debut of our little son into this big, big world, my husband and I often discuss what we believe he needs to learn in order to be a blessing to those around him. Of course we want him to lead a successful life, but much of that depends on how he is received by those who interact with him. A key to a positive reception will be how well he respects others, and this respect is usually exhibited through common courtesy – something that is really not so common anymore. Here are a few common courtesies that we plan to emphasize as he grows and matures:
1. Open doors for ladies and those who are unable to.
2. Offer your seat to ladies or those who are unable to stand for long periods of time.
3. Make eye contact and give a firm handshake when you greet someone.
4. Acknowledge others when you see that they have acknowledged you.
5. When you enter a room, greet all who are present.
6. Remove your hat at the table, in church, in a home, or when singing the National Anthem.
7. When you see that someone is taking a picture or filming, do not stand in front of their camera. Graciously move out of the way or take an alternative path around them in order to reach your destination.
8. If someone sends you a text message or an e-mail, acknowledge that you received it and let them know that you will respond in detail as soon as possible.
9. Remove your earbuds if someone is talking to you, and do not talk on the phone while you are trying to do something that might be interfering with others’ time (e.g. at the checkout).
10. DO NOT BE LATE TO AN APPOINTMENT! If you know that you are going to be late, make sure you call ahead so that those waiting on you can still be productive.
11. If someone asks you a question, do not default to a shoulder shrug or “I don’t know.” Pause, give an informed response, and if you really don’t know the answer, say so.
12. Eat everything on your plate even if you don’t like it. If you are filling your own plate, take small amounts to ensure that you can finish it. If you don’t like what was given to you, eat everything and do not take seconds.
13. Never say that the food you are eating looks, smells, or tastes gross.
14. Show gratitude and verbalize appreciation when someone serves you.
15. Do your best at any task even if it is one that is not your favorite.
While we are not consistent in incorporating these courtesies in our every day life, preparing to teach them has certainly moved them into the forefront of our attention. Modeling is one of the most effective forms of teaching; therefore, we are making more of an effort to practice common courtesy. It is uncommonly refreshing!