Pardon me while I rant for a minute.
Also back in the last century, Tom and I met in Sunday School. (Just call us Mr. and Mrs. BORING!) Our teacher was a retired school teacher, Mrs. Bengston. As a public school teacher, Mrs. Bengston taught "Deportment".
Growing up, we were taught to say "Yes, Mam" and "No, Mam", "Please", and "Thank you". No excuses for no manners. I thought I understood what a treasure courtesy is. These guys taught me that courtesy should be more than lip service.
Peter and Paul knew that courtesy and kindness are essential for spreading the gospel.
Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
1 Peter 3:15 MSG
But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy.
1 Timothy 6:11 MSG
A very wise colleague at our alternative school told me that the most important commodity for our students was relationships. She also cautioned me that their radars could detect a "poser" at fifty feet.
These guys were my students for spring semester. Some days it was hard showing up, listening to stories that broke my heart, buying school lunches for hungry kids. My colleague's words echoed in my brain, mingled with TYSAK, and Mama's lessons in good manners.
Our relationship seemed to start when I really began paying attention. Once in a while, we learned about American History, including the Boston Tea Party.
My friend, Mario, was 15 and in 6th grade. Reading and writing? Not so much. But what an artist! Another colleague suggested that Mario's assessments be illustrations. Bingo!
And just look where that first step took us!
More and more I think perhaps the second best thing I can teach my granddaughters and students is the expectation of courtesy, given and received, in their daily lives. (The first is the saving grace of Jesus Christ.)