In fourth grade, my son received a handout about common courtesy. All elementary schools should incorporate a lesson about common courtesy each year!
Ten Rules of Common Courtesy
- Show respect for others.
- Always apologize when you do something wrong.
- When someone is having a conversation, do not interrupt.
- When you change your plans, let others know.
- Respect the needs of others in public.
- Never embarrass another person.
- When refusing an invitation, be kind and honest.
- Respect your elders.
- Use good table manners.
- Respect other people’s property.
When appropriate, say please, thank you and excuse me. After you receive a gift, make sure you write a thank you note or follow up with a phone call, email or text message. Do not use the word “shut up” – it is offensive!
When you physically or emotionally hurt someone apologize even if it’s an accident. If you make a mistake, try to make amends whenever possible.
If you must interrupt a conversation, make sure you are polite and say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt but…”
Honor your word. If you commit to plans, make sure you show up. If something comes up (which it always does), make sure you contact others immediately.
Do not talk obnoxiously or loudly in public. Be aware of your surroundings and the people in the vicinity; use your cell phone in a private place. Always be respectful towards the people that serve you.
It is NOT polite to embarrass someone. In fact, it’s rude and mean and only serves to portray you as a bully. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.
We cannot attend every function so sometimes you will need to politely decline an invitation. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation but it’s wrong to lie to someone.
Always be polite to adults and treat them with respect. Go out of your way to help elderly people, e.g., hold the door open. Consider having a conversation with them – that may put a smile on their face.
I’m not implying you should put a napkin on your lap or keep your elbows off the table every time you eat. You should however, chew with your mouth shut and never speak with food in your mouth – that’s gross! Do not use your fingers unless, of course, it’s finger food. Use your napkin not your shirt and don’t lick your fingers.
Treat other people’s possessions like they were your own. If you lose or ruin something that belongs to someone else, fix or replace it.