THE IMPORTANCE OF COURTESY
Courtesy is of paramount importance in today’s society because it is a way of showing respect for others, who in turn respect us. If there is no respect for others, the world will definitely be a very unpleasant place to be. Mind you, no wo/man can claim to live and lead a solitary life in the strict sense. We exist for one another; therefore, interdependence is not negotiable. Further, one who respects and applies simple courtesy is not only earning respect for his/her person but enjoys people’s admiration, and by extension, people respect his/her parents for the good they did in his/her upbringing. Again, promoting a courteous lifestyle frees us from selfishness, rudeness, self-centredness, and ultimately, pride. Thus, simple courtesy will make us to be friendly to people, acceptable to them and contributors to their well-being.
CHALLENGES TO LOOK OUT FOR
Please be mindful as you put up a life of civility; the reasons are quite simple. Many will take your courteous lifestyle for granted. For instance, some may mistake your kindness for creepiness or think you are hitting on them, even if you are doing nothing of the sort. Being kind/simple does not mean being a doormat; do not let people take advantage of you. In order to be effectively courteous, one has to be principled and firm in character, with the strength to uphold what is good and right.
HOW TO PRACTICE COURTESY
It is important to note that there may be no school subject called courtesy. In any case, there are many channels by which we learn to be courteous. It all starts from the family, Church, school and the civic agencies of the society. The Mass media is also a veritable means for learning the art of being courteous. In most cases, the acts of courtesy are learned and imbibed indirectly. Finally, learning and developing a courteous attitude depends on a personal effort and the consciousness to practice courtesy in all situations of life and human relationships/contacts.
Now let us refresh our minds on the salient tips on courtesy and how to exemplify it. Greeting people is one way of showing courtesy. Saying please and thank you are also good examples. It is your duty to forgive because you will need it someday, if not every day! You must also show proper manners and etiquette wherever you go. When you possess these qualities, people would admire you and your parents for raising you up that way. Do not insult people and do not make fun of them. Saying jokes and having fun is not bad but it must be in moderation. A joke is not funny anymore when you are hurting someone’s feelings. Always remember that you should not make fun of people’s looks, physical appearances and physical disabilities. It would terribly hurt a person when people insult or make fun of him or her. It would bring him or her depression, low self-esteem and discouragement; therefore, avoid such. Do not hastily judge a person. Physical appearance is not the basis of a person’s attitude and values. You must get to know the person before you make an informed judgment. When you do not like the person, it is not proper to say things behind his or her back. You can keep it to yourself and/or you can say it to him or her in a proper manner or in a constructive way. There will be many instances to meet people along the way, so, it is always important to allow sufficient time to know someone better. Finally, in your interaction with people avoid been aggressive, rude and callous. If you demonstrate any of the foregoing ill manners or more, people will desert you and you may not find life fulfilling.
Life is good but can never be enjoyed or appreciated alone. Accordingly, we need one another to move towards our goals and the fulfilment of our dreams. One of the elements to enable us achieve this feat in life is to always show courtesy in our different endeavours in life. Please cultivate the habit of putting forward a good and healthy lifestyle that is coloured with courtesy/ civility/ politeness. It pays to be courteous. If not for anything, at least for the respect you receive from people whom you show courtesy.
Fr. John-Mary ATEP