1. Etiquette Inspirations
3. Making Your Acquaintance
4. Saying “Hi!” Electronically!
5. Basic Good Grammar Is a Skill – and a Courtesy!
6. Thank You!
7. An Attitude of Gratitude
8. “Walk a Mile…”
9. Of Sticks and Stones…
10. When the Wall is So Huge… A Special Note on Bullying11. Those Essentials: “Please...May I?...Thank you"
12. What About Profanity …?
13. Okay, Sometimes It IS About the Right Fork!
14. “Ta-Dah!” First Impressions
15. Clothes Don’t Make the Young Woman or Man
16. That Summer Job!
17. Nobody’s Perfect!
18. Kindness Has a Long History!
19. Inspired by Our Etiquette of Kindness
20. Final Thoughts
Click on the tabs for each chapter.
Etiquette – it’s a strange word, isn’t it? In the short, easy definition, it just means an identified way - or traditionally accepted way - of acting toward other people within our group. Even more simply: etiquette refers to how we treat one another – our behavior toward each other. This fancy-sounding word, etiquette, filtered down to us from Old French words: estiquette, meaning label and estiquier, meaning to attach...
Communication is alive and vital! It moves, weaves and circulates! Let’s make sure that our communication efforts are honest, kindly and trustworthy; that they carry sincerity of attitude, positive intent and helpful content...!
We can commune-icate – truly connect -- with others! We can learn to be skillful and thorough in our communication; to communicate satisfyingly, happily and honorably with generosity, respect and loving kindness...
Meeting new people is an adventure! Sharing treasured friends and loved-ones by introducing them to each other and creating relaxed, interesting scenarios for meeting-and-greeting is a valuable, learnable talent. With a little awareness and desire, we can become skillful at introductions!
Putting someone at ease in a new situation is a great gift to that person and a skill to learn and “perfect”. We put quotes around perfect because it’s important to remember from the outset that everyone messes up in introductions at times…
Being able to communicate easily and quickly is a handy, useful and helpful thing! Since any form of satisfying, successful communication is about sharing courtesy and consideration, as well as information, we want to remember our Etiquette of Kindness skills even when we phone, text and e-mail…!
“Hey, uh, Dude! Me and you have to uh…you know…go there, man…Umm…Like uh…you know…uh…where’s it at?”
“Don’t worry; me and Jill know where we’re going to.”
“Where are you at now?”
“Him and me aren’t sure where we’re at.”
… Fair or unfair and like it or not, people do judge us by how we use language…!
Saying “thank you!” – expressing gratitude -- is an act of thoughtfulness and it’s basic in our Etiquette of Kindness.
When we combine our gratitude to someone with telling them we care about them, we are interested in them and we appreciate them, then saying “thank you” becomes a communication of which we can be proud. This makes us feel good about ourselves...!
Joy is a wonderful thing.
It can be infectious turning our lives into daily experiences of deep happiness, peace, satisfaction and kindness.
One of the main ways to bring joy into our lives is to have an attitude of gratitude – to daily find and name small and large things for which to be grateful, beginning with our first wakefulness in the morning, then continuing during our day and right on through our last moments before sleep…!
We’ve heard this before: “You can’t really understand what another person is going through (or has gone through) until you walk a mile in their shoes.”
Another way to express this observation on Life could be:
No one can truly understand what another person thinks or feels or what drives their actions or re-actions, because no one can ever really be in another’s head, heart, and life experiences...
. . .There’s that old rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” Ah, but we know that is not true! Words – ours and those of others -- are powerful! They can hurt!
When we choose our words thoughtlessly or when we put them together without care, then hurting, wounding or angering can be the result – and sometimes with long-lasting impact! It happens. . .
Throughout The Etiquette of Kindness, we discuss ways to improve our own actions and how we relate with one another — staying in the positive as we learn skills in treating others as we would like to be treated.
Along with all of this very good stuff, we also unfortunately need to know about something not at all pleasant: how to act when we are confronted with the direct opposite of kindness – bullying...!
Three essential phrases: “Please…”, “May I…?” and “Thank you…!” smooth things out for us and for others. They set a cordial, agreeable tone and help bring about cooperation!
When we ask or make a statement using these words, it shows that we care about the other person’s feelings and needs – and not just about what we want at any given time…!
Choosing to use profanity, swear words, bad language, offensive, insulting or dirty words is just that: it’s a choice.
That choice always colors how others think of us and whether we can be heard…!
There’s no magic to make us look good in a social situation or to help us to feel comfortable or to fit in!
We can’t pull social skills out of a hat at the last moment like some fancy, schmancy rabbit!
It takes a little bit of work and attention to be a competent, confident diner, guest and host!
If we know what to do in particular life and social settings, if we have an idea of what, when and how, then we can always elect to use those skills. We can be confident -- and we can be ready-enough for anything!
It becomes simple…!
No matter what sort of personality we have, most of us would desire to make what we might consider to be a good first impression.
Like it or not, and whether or not it is fair, kind or generous, those first impressions do make a difference when we meet and greet others. Let’s consider how we might present ourselves as we want to be perceived.
To make certain that we’re all on the same page in what we are meaning here, a little clarification is in order: we’re not talking about impressing others by how cool or pretty or handsome we are, or how expensive or “in” our clothes or accessories or hair style might be. What we are talking about is so much more -- and costs next to nothing! We’ll see how simple the skill of presenting ourselves well can be; we can confidently create our own satisfying first impressions...
With so much concern and attention out there these days on “What to wear?” or on what other people are wearing or about how we (or others!) look, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in appearances!
It’s very good to remember that we can look wonderful in clothing that is clean, attractive, appropriate and perhaps modest in cost -- yet rich in “okayness”!
And, as we mentioned in chapter 14, Ta-dah! First Impressions, a SMILE is key to our presentation, and a smile is the very best thing to wear (of course, along with other appropriate apparel)...!
Whether for a few days or a few months, part time or full time, whether large or small, any job is an opportunity for us to learn and to expand a variety of skills. With a job, we can practice good time management, flex our creative talents, enjoy interactions with others and strengthen habits of reliability and responsibility.
Every job we will have in our life will benefit from the positive approaches and good habits that we learn and practice – now!
Our handling of every job is important, so there’s no such thing as “just going to the neighbors to mow their lawn” or “just going out to wash the neighbors’ car” or “only going down the road to do my horse feeding job!” Every time we go out in public, how we present ourselves shows…
No matter how hard we try, there are times when we mess up!
As human beings, each of us has instances when we feel – or know – that we have messed up!
Occasionally we forget something we shouldn’t, or we actually hurt someone’s feelings or are thoughtless or shockingly unkind. Yikes!
We are in excellent company in learning skills and courtesies all centered on our best efforts to treat others kindly and fairly!
Since the earliest civilizations, religious people and philosophers, as well as just ordinary people of good hearts and intentions, have tried to define an ideal universal path of fair, livable choices for human interaction.
In countries and cultures around the world, the simple premise of seeking to treat others as you would have them treat you has been determined to be a prime guideline for personal actions. . .
(and many more word suggestions...)
As I said at the beginning of our Etiquette of Kindness journey, “Who would have guessed that there could be such passion hidden in etiquette!” But, indeed that is what I’ve found to be the case! In my estimation, there’s nothing more exciting in Life than to experience people joining together to make good things happen for themselves, for others and for their surroundings! And, that’s precisely what we do in our Etiquette of Kindness…
...Along with our super-serious subjects, we’ve had some laughs and gained skills in everyday endeavors of making life smoother, more fun and more enjoyable for ourselves and for others…
…We’ve certainly learned which fork to choose for what…
…So, my young friends, I think you’re terrific! You’re strong of heart and of mind, and you’ve got what it takes to live our Etiquette of Kindness! Do your best in everything! Be grateful! Enjoy! Gain skills, be kindly, show compassion -- have fabulous lives and be a light to your world! Leave a legacy of love in your footsteps!
I wish us all the very best in our daily adventures of choosing a path of kindness; for one good thing flows into another and another…and who knows where our actions of good intentions may lead us...?