I listen to Focus on the Family’s daily radio broadcast nearly every day, usually as I’m feeding Jesse breakfast, or tidying the kitchen. Yesterday the program was on teaching children politeness. One thing that one of the guests said really stuck with me. You know, there are lots of little rules and rights and wrongs of proper etiquette, and we can study and try to practice all of them, but the essence of politeness is kindness. The speaker said that someone told her once that “politeness is basically treating everyone you meet like they are wearing a big, invisible sign that says ‘Make Me Feel Special'”. That gave me such great mental picture, that the idea has stayed with me ever since. Basically, being thoughtful and kind will get you through any interchange or meeting, as you make the effort to treat that person with respect, and to make them feel special.
I have stepped out of my comfort zone lately to try to be more polite and friendly as I go about my errands in town. Painfully shy as a child, and without a natural inclination to make friends with every one I meet, it sometimes still takes conscious effort for me to make it through a checkout line without getting flustered. But this month I have tried to reach out just a bit, and think about how the person on the other side of the counter feels. It helps when I get my mind off myself. In an effort to be friendly and polite, I say “thank you” and mention their name, if they have a name tag. I get such a kick out of being thoughtful and personal. I think, “how would I feel if I worked at a checkout counter all day, and only heard my name when my boss was giving me an order?” So, as the girl at the register handed me my receipt this morning at Sauder’s, I said, “Thank you, Brenda!” and walked out of the store, smiling inside and out.
Try being extra polite today – it feels great!