A Spoonful of Sugar

April 26, 2007

By JP 

When it comes to courtesy, much is dependent on how you were raised.  The examples and teachings you were shown growing up directly impact the courteous adult you may or may not turn out to be.  Sure, I grew up in a Christian (Mormon) family and surroundings, but I give full credit to my parents for applying Christian principles of courtesy into raising their family.  After all, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has witnessed or been a recipient of a Christian/Mormon interaction that is anything but courteous.

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.  (Matt 7:12)

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  The Golden Rule.  We’ve all heard of it…but do we all live by it?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took my oldest daughter out to breakfast after a particularly awesome soccer game.  (The awesome goal she made totally warranted a breakfast out, my friends.)  Our waitress, who was very nice, had made a slight error of not putting our order into the computer.  We had received our various juices, etc but it seemed that we had been waiting a very, very long time to receive breakfast.  We’re a courteous sort of family…but when the manager game out and asked how everything was we couldn’t help but ask where our food was.  Preparing for angry (hungry) customers, the mangers stammered on about the waitress forgetting the order, that she had placed a rush order for us and that he would comp our meal as an apology.  Understanding that mistakes happen, we kindly said thank you for the complimentary meal and also for the rush placed on our order.  The waitress brought our food not too long after that and was so embarrassed and apologetic.  Assuring her that we understood and that there really was no reason to worry she looked incredibly relieved and also a bit surprised.  In her line of work, I’m sure she (as her manager was) geared up for an angry tirade from our table.

My point here isn’t to show that nice and courteous behavior will get you a free meal when your order is forgotten.  We would’ve probably gotten a free meal for the mistake even if we had been nasty.  (But I’m sure not the huge container of freshly baked muffins.  I’m just saying.)  My point is that, more than anything, I felt good not being angry at the poor waitress who just made a simple mistake.  Glad that I used the courtesy I had been raised with and added a little kindness toward her for good measure.  I had also (hopefully) taught my daughter a little lesson in courtesy to those around us.  What it comes down to is that as a parent, I am responsible for teaching my daughters to be courteous to those around them.  We all are responsible for our actions and also our reactions.  I realize that this week’s topic is Courtesy AND the Gospel my take is that you can have one without the other.  I have seen many instances within the Gospel that would make you wonder if courtesy had ever been invented…and I have seen some pretty spectacular amounts of courtesy from people who don’t even believe in God. 

I just happen to be of the belief that courtesy and kindness (more often than not) breed more courtesy and kindness.  I think this world could use a little more of that.


One comment

  1. I thought it was nice how your family was really understanding about your late order. Very classy =)

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