THE “WHAT WHY & HOW” OF COURTESY

From The Family Virtues Guide

WHAT IS COURTESY?

Courtesy is to be polite and have good manners. It is to be considerate of others and to have gracious ways. It is a way of acting with people which makes them feel valued, cared for, and respected. Courtesy is something people use when they are trying to make a good impression. It’s important to show courtesy with friends and relatives, not just people we are meeting for the first time.

“Please,” “Thank you,” “Excuse me,” and “You’re welcome” are not just words. They are courteous expressions which let people know you appreciate them and care about their feelings. Being courteous by not interrupting someone while they are speaking tells them that what they are saying is just as important as what you have to say. Being polite to your parents, elders, and teachers is especially important. It shows them that you respect them.

WHY PRACTICE COURTESY?

Practicing courtesy makes every person feel important and acknowledged. No one feels taken advantage of or insulted. The next time they come in contact with you, they want to be around you and to help you. Courtesy is like a magnet. It makes you attractive to others.

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE COURTESY?

You practice courtesy by learning polite ways to speak and then using them throughout each day. Instead of interrupting someone, you say, “Excuse me,” and then wait for them to give you their attention.

Courtesy means to think of how your behavior is affecting others and then do things properly so that they are comfortable: eating without showing the food in your mouth (Yuck!); holding the door for someone who needs help; making requests by saying “please” instead of ordering someone to do something now; saying “thank you” and smiling when someone has done something for you. Courtesy is to look at someone you are meeting for the first time, smile, and say, “hello.” You may want to shake hands too.

Courtesy in school means listening to your teacher when she is speaking, stopping what you are doing when she asks you to, and being considerate with your classmates. Courteous people don’t shove others out of the way to get in line first. They use their quiet voices indoors and save their loud voices for outdoors. There are lots of opportunities every day to practice courtesy.

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Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.

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