On one fine morning, I was on my way to office, when an elderly stranger stopped me and requested me to give him 'lift' on my bike. I obliged to his request. During the few minutes of our conversation, I could understand that he was very polite. When he got down at the nearest bus stop, he said, “Thank you, Sir. GOD BLESS YOU!” Many strangers have hitchhiked on my bike earlier. Some said, “Thank you!” just for the sake of it. Some said, “Ok” as if I thanked them :) . There were some who just left without even looking back. In such a context, I felt special and very happy for receiving the blessing of this stranger.
We have heard our elders say, “Be polite, be good, do good”, besides many such instructions. How many of us and how many of our elders who preach it, practice it? We have become so short tempered that we shout, scold and abuse for petty reasons. I am not against criticism. I believe that positive criticism makes one a better individual. However, can’t we politely criticize? Can’t we be polite and discuss whatever the problem is? Politeness seems to be becoming an extinct habit. I find it disturbing when I see elders abusing each other during quarrels. They don’t mind even if there are kids around. Isn’t it a wrong message being passed to the future generation?
Politeness is a virtue. It does not cost us anything. Being polite can earn us many friends. On the contrary, rude people can never have ‘true’ friends. Does anyone like to mingle with people who hurt others with their words? Even if we are wrong, we would not want anyone to scold us. :)
Politeness is not merely saying ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Please’ and the like often. The way we say ‘No’ to something needs to be polite. Here is a common well-known example. We go to a restaurant and a friend orders a dish we don’t like. It’s up to us whether we say ‘No man on earth would ever eat that!’ or ‘If you don’t mind, can we have something else? I don’t like this dish though everyone says it is very tasty.’
As if I am the epitome of politeness, I have written positively about politeness so far. :) Now flipping the coin to the ‘negative’ aspect of politeness, I believe that sometimes it is wrong to be polite. I would feel unhappy if a close friend of mine says “Thank you”, “Sorry” often. I would rather be happy if the friend doesn’t use these words at all. I somehow feel that more the polite we are, the lesser the closeness of the relationship. The other main point that some people criticize about politeness is that it involves circumlocution. (Sometimes it involves telling lies as well. :) ) Of course, it is true, but I personally prefer circumlocution to hurting others by being too straight forward.
Before closing this article, coming back to the incident which ‘motivated’ me to write this article, there was something else I learnt from it. Apart from being a reminder for me to be polite, the incident also makes me realize how well we can impact others in a very short time. We sometimes say, “It will take years for this guy to change his behavior.” Now I feel that this statement is not right always. This long duration of years may be because we are not teaching them in the right way. It was barely 5 minutes of a conversation and barely 5 seconds for that stranger to say “Thank you Sir. GOD BLESS YOU!”, but didn’t it cover a main portion of “Moral Studies” classes that I attended for years in school? Yes it did and I am looking forward to learn many more such topics in a similar way.
If you are the first-time visitor to this site, please do read my earlier posts.
Out of all my previous posts, these are the ones I like the most myself. :)
Life is Precious @ http://dhaston.blogspot.in/2010/11/life-is-precious.html
My Dream India @ http://dhaston.blogspot.in/2010/04/my-dream-india.html