Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 22, 2014

Practicing behavior called courtesy

Rev. Milton Gardner

— One of the most beautiful expressions of a person’s rearing and care for others is courtesy. Webster defines courtesy as consideration and generosity in providing a gift or privilege. There are different kinds of courtesy, including, but not limited to, social, military, patriotic, traffic and what I would call common courtesy. In I Peter, the apostle wrote, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” (I Peter 3:8).

I find that courteous behavior and conduct has no color or ethnic qualifications. In recent days, I have observed various people from different races and economic backgrounds demonstrating courtesy toward others. Some slow down or stop their vehicles to allow a pedestrian to safely cross the street. Such gestures are done without impatience. Quite often a total stranger will linger in a doorway and wait for me to enter. I am not that feeble.

It is refreshing to see men rise to their feet when a lady enters the room or offer a seat to them when none are available. Recently, I had a person with whom I was in line at the check-out counter of a grocery store to say, “You go ahead of me, you have only a few items.” Courtesy.

My heart is touched when I see whole crowds  of people rise to their feet at the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” or remove their hats when the flag passes by.

Courtesy should be taught at home and practiced in the home. When your spouse comes home, it is courteous to stop what you are doing — even in the middle of a ball game — and greet and acknowledge their presence. Children should be taught and expected to show consideration for parents and grandparents, even if it means turning off your iPod for a few minutes.

We all have to be carefully taught and model the behavior we call courtesy.