To Be Polite… Is it Really that Hard?

Monica Irvine
Founder and President
of The Etiquette Factory,
a unique 3-phase etiquette learning system designed to change the world, one child at a time.

I think the best way to help ourselves and our children to be more polite, is to look at the heart of manners. Manners (being polite) are about helping those around us to feel valued and comfortable. If our objective in life is to walk as the Savior walked and to love as the Savior loved, then being polite is how we accomplish this goal.

The best way I know to help you see what I mean is to give some examples. Here are a few:

We start to head into a door and as we are opening it, we gently look over our shoulder to see if anyone is close behind us. If so, we hold the door for them. Why? Because doing this small act of kindness is actually an act of service. It immediately sends this person a message that says, “I see you. You matter. I can stop my life for two seconds and serve you because I am never too busy to do the most important things, which is to serve my fellowman.”

We sit down at the dinner table to eat and have received our food before others at the table. We quietly sit with our hands in our laps, patiently waiting for all others to sit down with their plate, before we lift our hand with our first bite. Why? Because doing so sends a message to those we are dining with. That message is, “I’m not here to just fill my belly. I’m actually also here because I want to talk to you, to find out how you are. Eating is secondary to my desire to communicate with you and enjoy your company.”

We’re in a conversation with a colleague at work. It’s Monday and quickly we engage in a discussion about our past weekend’s activities. We make sure and listen carefully to our colleague, making mental notes of knowledge about their family so you can ask him/her about these family members at another time. When we speak, we make sure we don’t speak longer than about 2 minutes so that we do not dominate the conversation. We ask a lot of questions. We keep eye contact. We are considerate of their time. Why do we do all of these things? Because, in so doing we are sending a message, and that message is, “I care about you. I am more interested in you, then telling you about me. I want to know you because you are important to me. I respect your time and I appreciate our friendship.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you see that the purpose in being polite, is so we can show love and value to all those in our life. Being polite means that we are considerate. It means that we think of others more than we think of ourselves. It means that we pay attention to our actions and words and consider the unspoken and sometimes spoken messages that we are sending to others. It means that we pay attention to the details.

Being polite is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action. It is at the heart of every single etiquette rule. It’s why it matters.

2 Responses to To Be Polite… Is it Really that Hard?

  1. My 5 yr old is struggling in Kinder. Her teacher says that she has a speech/language issue. And that she should be tested for speech & ADHD? I said no that she’s too young since she mentioned that medication does wonders for a child?!? Which I do not want this for my child?!?My daughter never went to Preschool. So I have felt that her teacher feels that my child is slowing the class down? She also sent me a text that she has other 19 children that need her too? How should I address this matter and to whom if she’s not listening (teacher) to me.

  2. Hello Gabriela,

    Thank you for your important question. Anytime our child’s well-being is called into question on any level, it is a time of stress and concern for parents. I will pray for you this day that the Lord will help open your mind to the proper course of action. Although I cannot advise you on how to address this matter specifically, may I give you some thoughts that pertain to this situation. These are my personal thoughts and not of any sound professional reasoning.

    There is no one on this earth who has been given the spiritual guidance to parent and raise your daughter like you and her father. The both of you have access to Heaven on her behalf that is unique to your role as her parent. As you and her father, kneel daily in prayer seeking the Lord’s will concerning what needs to be done to help your daughter succeed and become her best self, the Lord will place feelings and ideas in your mind that will prompt you to perhaps; be more open to things that you might not have considered before, or to speak to a friend, family member or doctor to educate yourself more on certain behaviors, or to research or read a certain book that might have great parenting insight or simply to have more patience with a teacher that is overworked or exhausted and is grasping for solutions. Whatever the promptings (thoughts and feelings), act on them.

    Regarding your daughter being tested, I can’t recommend to do or not to do, but I can tell you that she is not too young to be tested or diagnosed. Please remember that just because our child might be diagnosed with a disability (if there is one), that does not mean we are destined for a certain course of action. I have met with so so many parents who have struggled with their child over the years, only to have them diagnosed as teens with autism, or ADD, etc. These parents grieve over not knowing sooner so that they could have gotten their child the resources that could have helped them sooner. Resources come in all shapes and sizes. Yes, medication is one resource but it is absolutely not the only resource. Resources can be mom and dad being better informed and educated on a particular behavioral diagnoses so that they can parent with better focus and more understanding and empathy. Resources can include all different levels of therapy and training. I even spoke with a mom of a teen age boy once who expressed to me her son’s relief when he was finally diagnosed with Aspergers. She said for years he felt insecure because he struggled to make friends and he struggled in the classroom and he just thought he was weird or bad, but when he finally learned his diagnoses and then studied the symptoms of that diagnoses, he was able to understand why he thought the way he thought and behaved the way he behaved. It allowed him to have understanding of himself that permitted him to move forward with greater hope in his future. Knowledge is power.

    Communication is so important. I might suggest to start with sincere prayer that you and your daughter’s father will have an open heart and mind and go and meet with her teacher. Going to this meeting feeling defensive and ready to fight will not be helpful. Go in the spirit of really trying to understand the teacher’s perspective. This does not mean that you will agree with everything she says or even her suggestion, but simply go and try to understand why she has reached the conclusion she has reached.

    The Lord will guide you. He loves your daughter perfectly. He know what she needs. He has given her to you because he knows you are the person that can give and make available to your daughter the things that she needs to be successful. Trust in yourself but more importantly, trust that God will show you all things that you should do.

    Blessings to you,
    Monica Irvine

Leave a reply