One of my daughters was on a field trip recently. She came home and told me that she and another friend had held the door open for some high school kids (from a different school) that were also on a field trip. The high school kid expressed shock that a younger child would be that courteous. It reminded me of the time that I was pregnant with her (I mean really pregnant) and enrolling my oldest daughter in preschool. I was at the top of a large flight of stairs and there was a group of 4-5 boys (around 10 years old), heading out the door at the bottom of the stairs. One of the boys noticed me and held the door open as I made my way down. This was above and beyond. I was nowhere near him, but he took the time to wait for me and show me respect, and his friends waited with him. I was really impressed with these young men (I thought about getting their numbers for when my daughters got older)! A year later I was in the office at that same school and standing at the counter holding my infant while talking to the secretary. A young girl, around 11 years old, promptly got off her chair and offered it to me even though I was not even ready to sit down yet. In both of these instances, the kids really went out of their way to be courteous and show respect to someone else, regardless of who was watching.
Why should common courtesy surprise us so much? Why is it that respect seems to sit on our back porches instead of front and center? In my parent’s generation, this type of respect would not only have been expected, but demanded. This may be a bit political, but I would also never have heard anyone call the President of the United States an idiot on national television. It happens all of the time now, and idiot is one of the nicer words. There is a certain amount of respect accorded to that office regardless of the decisions that are made from it. If our country and media allows disrespect at this fundamental level, it is no wonder that our kids never have a kind word for anyone.
So the life work for the week is – Notice when someone is courteous to you and make sure that you say Thank You. Be courteous to your children as a model of how you would like them to treat you and someone else. Have a discussion with your kids on the same topic. One act of kindness can truly have a ripple effect, and you never know who will be touched and affected by it. Maybe the next time you go somewhere, there will be some little person holding a door open for you with a smile on their face. Who knows, based on some of the information I found online, it may actually help your kids get a job someday!