Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrate Common Courtesy Day Every Day

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By Diane Forrest

Years ago I remember when men would open the doors for women, would help them out of the car, would lay down their coat in a puddle so she wouldn't get her feet wet.  Ok...well that last one I saw in a movie, I have never really seen it.  As the years pass, I never see that anymore.  I occasionally see it at church, with the older members, but not that often.  I was very fortunate when I married my husband.  He was always courteous, and would open car doors for me.  It took me a while to get used to this, but I have to admit it was really nice being treated like a lady.
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Some men, like my father, think that because women want to be treated equally, and are liberated, that they lost the right to be treated with common courtesy.  To his defense, there are some women who don't appreciate having a door open for them, for what reason I cannot imagine.  Here in the south, where I was born and reared, a Southern mother always teaches her son to be courteous to the elderly and to women.

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Today is National Common Courtesy Day.  This should not just be today, but every day.  It is not hard to show courtesy to someone, and it doesn't cost a dime.  Not only will it make you feel good, but others will respect you for your actions.  Here are some examples of ways you can be courteous:

  • Hold open doors, car doors, office doors, elevator doors.  Especially if someone has their hands full.
  • Offer to push the elevator button for someone with full hands, or even offer to help carry their load.
  • Smile, say hello to people you pass.  Make sure you look them in the eye.
  • Don't interrupt someone who is speaking.
  • Turn your cell phone off if you are in a public place such as a meeting, church, movie or restaurant.
  • Refrain from texting if in someone's company.
  • Clean up your own messes.
  • If you are sharing a meal with someone, remain seated until everyone is finished eating.  I know a girl who will sit at the dinner table, gobble up her food in case someone wants to take it from her, and then jump up from the table.  Thank your host, asked to be excused and offer to help with the dishes.
  • Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, then make sure to wash your hands.
  • If driving, let other passengers in your lane if there is construction going on.
  • Don't fight over parking spots. 

I have a friend in his 70's who is handicap, and has a handicap parking sticker.  During the Christmas holidays, where parking is scarce, he sat patiently waiting as a place opened up.  As the vehicle pulled out, he began to pull in, but there was a younger man pulling in the same spot from another direction.  Instead of giving up the spot to the older handicap man, the young man got out of his car and threatened bodily harm.  My friend gave up the space and was visibly shaken over the incident.

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Some of my favorite words are Please and Thank you.  These are two words that are often forgotten, and should be used more frequently.

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Other favorite words are Yes Ma'am/Sir and No Ma'am/Sir.  These are probably used more in the South, but it doesn’t hurt to use them everywhere.

Today, keep in mind ways to be courteous, and once you get in practice, you can celebrate Common Courtesy Day every day.

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