Posts Tagged "be polite"

10 Important Things You May Not Know About College

10 Important Things You May Not Know About CollegeDear Kid,

High schools, colleges, and countless friends do their best to prepare you for college. As your parents, we’ve spent the last 18 years trying to teach you the things you’ll need for a success life (and the last three months collecting things you’ll need for a successful first semester–still CANNOT believe how much all of that cost).

But, my darling, there are things we left out. Or may have glossed over. Or may have said several thousand times but are worried you didn’t hear.

So just in case you missed these…

1. The point of college is to learn something. Shocking, I know. Please try to find some time to get your homework done.

2. Not all learning takes place in the classroom. You never know where or from whom you will learn something interesting, relevant, or mildly amusing. A Great Sage once told me that nothing you learn is ever wasted. It may not be obvious how you’ll use what you’ve learned, but learning just for the sake of learning is a good thing.

3. Girls tend to prefer boys who do not smell like the bottom the sewer. Doing laundry every now and then is an excellent idea.

4. Kindness is never wasted. Be nice to someone today. Smile. You never know how much someone else needs that smile.

5. The other point of college is to make good friends. If you’re not comfortable telling your mother about your friends, they probably aren’t the people you’re supposed to be friends with.

6. Worrying is only useful up to a point. Think about this time last year: what were you worrying about then? (Besides football.) See what I mean?

7. Proofread. I just read a blurb (an entire three sentences) written by and about someone who describes herself as a tech-savvy writer and was trying to get companies to hire her. Yet there was great big honking grammatical error in the blurb. Yark! Did not inspire me to recommend her. (NOTE: the exception to looking down upon typos and mistooks is when your mother oops-es in this blog.)

8. Be polite. It’s free. But it generates a huge payback. It might even make you feel good.

9. Trust your instincts. You are a good kid. You make good decisions. Trust yourself.

10. We are still (and always) here for you. Seriously. Just because you are Acquiring Higher Education does not mean we stop being your parents. We’re here to help with anything we can. Except finding research sources at 2am–for that, you’re on your own.

Love, Mom

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Manners, Rudeness, and Magic Words

Barney is the college mascot of polite behavior.

Barney is the college mascot of polite behavior.

Dear Kid,

What is the key-number-one-top-of-the-list most important thing you can control to make sure you have a successful future?

Not clean underwear, although that’s pretty high on the list.

Not a good sense of humor, although that will make you more fun to hang out with.

Not even a great college education, although I hope you are spending some time studying as your tuition is far too high to make it ok to ignore the studying part.

The number one, must have, most important thing you can learn is manners.

Way back when you used to watch Barney, the big purple guy used to sing about “Please and Thank You, ‘cause they’re the magic words. If animals could talk you’d hear the fishes and the birds saying Please and thank you, ‘cause they’re the magic words….” Do you have the tune running through your head right now? I do. Dang…must go find other music…

The number of rude and inconsiderate people in the world is staggering. There is absolutely no reason for you to be one of them and several gazillion reasons for you not to. It takes so little effort to be polite and has such a big payoff.

Yes, you guessed it. Someone was rude to me. It wasn’t even well-done rudeness where you could say to yourself, “ah, that person was being rude on purpose for a specific reason” or “oh, ho! That individual has made a study of rudeness and raised it to an art form” or even “I see someone has been reading Oscar Wilde again.” Nope. This was plain old, boring, inconsiderateness. Blech.

So here are today’s (and by today’s I really mean today, this minute because I’m thinking about it, not today meaning modern day) reminders about being polite.

  • If there is a meeting/appointment/performance/class/study group, get there on time. By which I mean 5 to 10 minutes early. The only acceptable time for lateness is when it’s just a big party and people are coming and going all the time. If there is significant blood or fire, you might be forgiven if you are late but only if you singed or well bandaged.

  • Apologize profusely for inadvertent rudeness. And if you are going to apologize, say you’re sorry like you mean it, not like your mother is standing there saying “what do you say…?”

  • Offer to help. Or better yet, just help. Open a door, carry something, hold the elevator, clean up after yourself.

  • Be gracious. If someone opens the door for you, offers to carry your books, or does something else that is kind, smile, say thank you, perhaps even return the favor. Under no circumstances should you ignore the gesture or refuse the assistance. (Note: in the 70s many women refused to let men open doors, etc. for them. They were Making a Point, and maybe it needed to be made then. Personally, I think even in that Not Quite Enlightened Time they could have been more gracious. More importantly, this is not Then and there is absolutely no reason to refuse courtesies.)

  • Use those magic words. Please, thank you, excuse me, may I, good morning, I’ll see you tomorrow. You know the ones. The words you’d use if someone else’s mother was standing there.

I probably didn’t need to remind you of any of this. You probably never grunt at people as a way of communicating now that you’re in college. But I really am annoyed at the Rude Person. Thanks for listening,

Love, Mom

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Social Media Doesn’t Mean You Are Required to Be Rude

girl-on-mobile-phoneDear Kid,

Is it just me, or has the whole world lost it?

I just read the article Why Eye Contact Still Matters In The Age of Email which basically laments the “new” rudeness that has emerged now that teens and college students are spending so much time on their electronic communication devices. The article suggests that because people are communicating in ways that are not face-to-face they feel a freedom to be rude. (It also suggests that because “everyone is watching” people are no longer willing to take risks, but that is a discussion for another day. Tomorrow perhaps.)

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