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Character of a Winner: Courteous and Obedient

Hotel Doormen by Garry Knight

Courteous

Being a courteous young man, my son is quick to hold open the door for people. He’s loathe to give in to the gender bias he sees in such old-fashioned manners, so he’ll hold the door for everyone. I try to avoid taking him to the shopping mall during the holidays; we’ll never make it inside the building. To all the men who hold doors for women, the elderly, and those who need assistance, thank you – I know you don’t hear it often enough. I appreciate you.

Standing in line at a local amusement park on a hot day, I accidentally stepped into a sticky puddle of half-dried soda. It sucked my loafer right off my foot as I went to take a step forward, and I started to pitch headlong towards the cement. Fortunately, I regained my balance. Looking down, I muttered, “Aren’t there just some days when you’d dearly love to smack someone over the head with a copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette?

Well, the guy behind me thought it was funny. We agreed, though, that Emily would be rolling over in her grave if we did that.

Good manners never go out of style. Although I’ve had little occasion to wear white kid gloves in the last 40-some years, saying “please” and “thank you” are timeless; they are as appropriate today as they were a century ago. Good manners, like a sincere smile and a cheerful attitude, help to put others in a more positive frame of mind.

Obedient

“I promise to love, honor, and ob—oh, hell no!!” We’re not an obedient lot, for the most part, once the law declares us “adults.” We prefer to couch it in terms of “respect for authority,” or “upholding the law,” and “complying” with a loved one’s request. We all obey someone – God, our parents, a spouse, a boss, the law – and none of us can simply ignore authority or obligation with impunity.

Boy Scout Law recognizes that rules aren’t always fair: “If [a Scout] thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.” And that is at the heart of a healthy democracy, each person having a voice in how government runs things.

When you’re the boss, you get to set some of the rules. Do you expect your employees or partners to obey these rules? Would you, if you were in their shoes? Do you now? Real leadership – the kind that would have people follow you into Hell and back – requires that you not ask of anyone something that you are unwilling to do yourself. Lead by example.

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About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at http://jahangiri.us/new.

About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at http://jahangiri.us/new.

Comments

  1. There are men in all cultures who feel entitled to try, which is why a woman needs healthy self-esteem and confidence, so that she isn’t easily manipulated. My parents taught me well; I’m worth more than the price of a nice dinner and a bottle of wine. ;)

    I think it’s easy to equate “obedience” with a lack of choice and a lack of voice – to lump it in with childhood and servitude and forget that, as adults, obedience IS largely a choice – it’s part of a social contract. Everyone can be a leader; everyone can be a follower. When we obey someone by choice, it’s a sign of respect – not inferiority on our part.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Being Human: Key to Business Success in Social MediaMy Profile

  2. Being courteous is so important. Who like a “gouja” French for a “very rude person” :) . However, I do know of some cultures where men feel like opening the door to a woman or paying for her drink is sending messages to women that they can take advantage of them. Yes, I am not kidding. I know some people just like that!

    If you ask me, I think that’s very sad :(

    It’s funny how people are afraid of the word “obey” when all they do at the office all day is really just that :) They obey the boss, the supervisor, the rules, etc….everything!!!
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..How To Use The Law Of Attraction To Receive What You WantMy Profile

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