Being courteous means being nice, respectful, patient, and polite. Courtesy is part of the Boy Scout Law because one small act of courtesy really can make a community a better place.
Sometimes we forget to be courteous. It may seem like we don’t care about anything but ourselves. We start a chain reaction of rudeness. For instance, let’s say you couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up tired and grouchy. You walk into the kitchen and see that your mom has made you breakfast.
But you don’t feel like eating, so instead you leave the kitchen and crash on the couch. Your mom probably feels that you are ungrateful. She yells at you to come and eat, but you get even madder. Once you get to school, you bump into someone in the hall and don’t say “excuse me.” That person may get mad and bump you back. Meanwhile, your mom is driving to work and is yelling at all the slow drivers. All these bad things happened because you were too tired to be courteous.
Let’s rewind. Even though you couldn’t sleep last night, you realize that a good breakfast will help you feel better. You tell your mother, “I love your fluffy pancakes. Thank you for making them for me.” Your mom is going to feel like you appreciate her hard work and that you love her. And she will probably be more patient on her drive to work.
When you are courteous, you start a chain reaction of kindness. I know this for a fact.
At school, I try to be helpful by opening doors for people. Again, this is a small act, but it actually helps all of us be a little bit nicer to each other. Maybe that person will appreciate this courteous act so much, he or she will remember to open the door for someone else. See how fast courtesy can spread?
Canadian journalist Erastus Wiman said, “Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of the pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much. It pleases him who gives and him who receives, and thus, like mercy, it is twice blessed.” From the simplest action of opening a door, to helping someone carry a heavy load, to just saying a friendly hi — these courteous actions stimulate kindness that we can all enjoy.