Do things ever dawn on you? I can sometimes go quite a while before I realize that some things seem missing. Hearing children say, "Yes, Sir" and "No, Sir" for one. It seems missing in general. Watching people hold the door for a lady or a senior is another. Of course, there are so many stores where the door is automated that, if you thought of holding it, you would only be in the way.
I like seeing children automatically pick up the packages for their mother in a grocery store or take the cart for her. It is refreshing to watch children stand quietly by their parent`s side as adults talk. Even the ability to be still seems a lost art.
When was the last time you heard a child say, "May I" before reaching for whatever it was he last saw while walking through the Wal-Mart? Do you commonly hear such words as "Please" or "Thank you"? To see a child, especially a young child, not cry out or pout or show displeasure at being told that they could not have something - has it become rare?
It seems as if the attitude of caring for one another and the attitude of giving in to one another have become synonymous. Such a view would be voiced in this fashion, "They don`t love me; they wouldn`t let me have my way." Is that really so? Do parents not love their children when they refuse to give in to their momentary wants? No, of course not. We all have to learn that limitations and restrictions are part of life, just like the physical laws of gravity or magnetic attraction.
The danger of the self-serving attitude of a child can be transferred to our adult lives. When we are corrected on the job or in a social setting, when we are opposed in a committee meeting at the office, when we disagree over the family budget at the kitchen table - how we respond is crucial.
Can we have a discussion that does not turn into an argument? Do we discover, when friends or family members disagree with us, that we feel offended, threatened, or angry? Is there a defense against such reactions? Common courtesy says, "Yes."
What is common courtesy? The dictionary definition declares that courtesy is a "politeness combined with kindness." It is civility of conduct. It literally comes from a salutation made by bending the knees: that is, to curtsy.
I like the bending of the knees part. That reminds me of praying. When we seek God`s will and present our views and opinions to the Lord, we need to make a courtesy: to bow, even if ever so slightly, to his will in his way.
We need to greet each other with that same attitude, acknowledging each other, though we have differences of opinions about the daily choices and challenges of life. It is through our various opinions, when we join to face a common problem, that we can meet the challenge and find the solutions we need.
The Lord declared: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" [Matt. 5:44,45]. If we are to love our enemies, can we not be courteous to everyone else?