Small acts of kindness, a word or a gesture, making a difference … or simply connecting with others. Do you keep your eyes averted when walking down a street? Or do you smile at the people you pass by? Do you avoid contact with strangers, or do you catch their eye and hand out random compliments? My girls roll their eyes sometimes when I compliment a passerby on their sweater, or a nice hair cut. “That color looks lovely on you” never fails to give someone a smile. A little feel good moment.
In a way, being polite and small acts of random kindness come across as one and the same to me.
People in stores and restaurants always wear their name tags. I tell my girls to take a quick look and then be sure to use their name when addressing them. Making eye contact and thanking the person who bagged your groceries by name just seems to be a polite thing to do. Stepping up to a register and asking the person on the other side how they are takes but a second, but may just make a difference in their day.
I abhor people who talk on their phones while being served, or conduct supposedly private conversations loudly in stores. It is all I can do to hold myself back from chastising people who do not say please and thank you. Is it really so hard to pick up your garbage in the movie theater? Or with that in mind – do you have to talk during the movie as though you were perchance in your living room? Which by the way, you are not.
I even wrote a post once about what annoys me most about people in Barnes and Noble. Perhaps I should print it out and give it to them next time we visit. My kids would die. But my children are polite souls for the most part, they have not really been given much of a choice, and maybe it is even some sort of British Colonial type upbringing as forced upon me as a child that makes me such a stickler. We even have little sayings about manners around the house lest they forget.
In fact, it reminds me of when my oldest was around 4. She had been served a dish at a grown up dinner party prior to the grown ups eating. She set her cutlery down, wiped her mouth sweetly with her napkin from time to time and thanked our hostess profusely when she was done. But when asked if she would like another serving she said, “Oh, no thank you, it was disgusting.”
A work in progress.
So in knowing that your children watch your every move … they certainly remember all the things you really should not have said or done, little sponges that they are. Guaranteed they can quote you right back when there are words you wish you had never uttered in the first place … because children learn their behavior from those that they spend time with. And most of the time, especially when they are little – that is YOU.
What sets you off? Do you have a pet peeve when out and about in the general public? Have you ever told someone off for their bad manners … or do you just quietly stew? Are there things that your children know are not negotiable, something you brought from growing up into rules for your own kids?
Share, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. After all, manners maketh man. Right?