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August 22, 2012
Between the Lines
Please and thank you . . .
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- On the lighter side of things I got to thinking about courtesy. Court-eo-us, court-se-sy, marked by respect of others: civil: polite: courteous behavior: politeness: a favor courteously performed. So says Webster circa about 1960.
Well I somehow think we have lost our way when it comes to being respectful of our fellow man, (person). I donít know if it is because our lives are much more hectic than ever before or what. But it seems when it comes to driving, or standing in a checkout line or waiting for a parking space a lot of folks think their position should always take priority.
How many times have you been waiting patiently in a busy parking lot for a parking space when this happens ó A. The person can see you are waiting for the space, but takes their sweet time leaving the parking space. Or B. After waiting for the person to check everything there is to check on the car, or putting on a fresh coat of makeup, and adjusting their hair, some less than considerate person dive bombs the spot you have been patiently waiting for.
Is your first inclination to get out of your car and beat the tar out of the person, or drive by and scold them with a well known finger gesture, or just drive by and say heíll get his some day. Oh by the way the first two ideas are probably left for six foot five martial arts expert.
I recall quite a few years ago while driving through a construction zone in a suburb of the cities. I failed to properly negotiate a sudden lane change and cut off a couple of elderly ladies driving in an older Buick Century. They sped past me as I realized my error and they promptly executed that well known finger gesture.
Things like that are really not a good idea, there are a lot of cases of road rage that have turned out very badly for some people.
I guess it all goes back to the idea that everything you need to know about life is learned in kindergarten. The trouble is, as we age, some of us forget those lessons. Two of those lessons are very easy to use and can be very beneficial to you and those around you. Please and Thank You are two that come to mind. I find myself using those two words/phrases. I have found when you ask to speak to someone on the phone if you say may I please speak to so and so you will almost always get a better response than just asking to talk to so and so.
I also try to remember to thank waitresses in restaurants when they bring me something extra. It seems the more courtesy you extend the more courtesy you will receive.
I found years ago a good way to teach children this is, when you give them something or do something for them, if they do not thank you just tell them they are welcome. Often they will say thank you.
Another lesson I learned about courtesy was when I was a Boy Scout leader, when teaching knife and axe safety. When passing a knife or axe to another person, you would not let go of it until they said thank you. This was not only for courtesy, but for safety, as you knew they had a good hold on it before you would let go, helping to prevent having an axe drop on your foot.
It really does not take much effort to make some ones day by doing random acts of kindness.
Also I have found that courtesy is actually somewhat contagious. Often when you do something courteous for someone they are more likely to extend the same courtesy to someone else.
So when you see someone that could use a friendly smile or gesture, (not the well known finger one) give them one of your own. Even if it doesnít make them feel better, it will make you feel better.
Have a great week and do good!
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