As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this is Random Acts of Kindness week. Reading about 10 Kindness Ideas To Do With Your Kids, I started to think about the connection between kindness and good manners.

Good Manners and Kindness

Just last week, I experienced two random acts of kindness in Mumbai’s busy airport. A lady rushed to help Jose pick up some money that spilled out of his pocket, when he was getting his wallet out.  Simple good manners, I think, but also a kindness which is a little rare to see these days.  And as I was boarding the flight, I asked the guy at the back of me to go ahead of me, because I would take time to lug my bag up. Instead of rushing ahead, he offered to carry my bag for me! I was so pleasantly surprised. I turned down his offer, but his simple gesture of kindness touched me.

Though I applaud kindness and share plenty of dramatic stories of kindness which are truly inspiring, I value even more the simple acts of thoughtfulness that we can do for one another on a day to day basis. And I’m beginning to see that good manners and courtesies are nothing but acts of kindness.

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While I am all for the Random Acts of Kindness movement, I’m wondering if we’re forgetting to practice and teach our children good manners?

  • What happened to the simple courtesies of saying ‘excuse me’ when you bump into someone, saying ‘please’ when you need something, and ‘thank you’ when you receive something?
  • What makes it okay for us to make negative comments to someone like ‘Gosh, you’ve put on so much weight!’ or ‘Have you stopped eating? You’re withering away?’ ?
  • What makes us jump into conversations and interrupt other people to tell our story or make our point?
  • Why do I see people not offering a seat on public transport to someone who visibly needs it more than them?
  • Why do we jump queues, cut people in traffic and generally act as if we’re the most busy people in the world?
  • What makes it nice to keep texting or talking on our phones while we’re supposedly socializing with others in person?

This week, let’s pledge ourselves to kindness, good manners and extending simple courtesies to others.

Kindness and courtesy needn’t always be deliberate and planned. Spontaneous kindness is an attribute of a person who already is well-mannered and courteous and whose natural instinct for courtesy is demonstrated in everything he or she does. – Emily Post’s Etiquette

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