Tool for Tuesday: Courtesy Begins at Home

My friend Joelle jokes that she has a black belt in “tongue fu.” I had to laugh but she was serious. She said that when she was growing up, the pastor of her church thought that she had a perfect family. But Joelle said that her mother “was an angel on the outside and a devil on the inside.” She said it was like Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll—but in her case, she was Mrs. Smile and Dr. Scream. Her Mom maintained perfect composure on the outside but lost it the moment she was in the house.

These days, Joelle tries her hardest not to use her tongue fu on her husband and kids. She really works at courtesy. Courtesy for the people nearest and dearest to us is, at times, the hardest to practice. Our family members can get on our nerves. It’s so easy to lose our temper. But we can’t save our courtesy for the outside world. We can practice being courteous – being aware of other people’s peace of mind and comfort – with those we live with, too.

Tool for Tuesday: Courtesy begins at home.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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3 Responses to Tool for Tuesday: Courtesy Begins at Home

  1. stuartart says:

    That is great advice – and the hardest to follow. Because society wishes us to conform to certain behaviours of courtesy we find home is the only place we can actually show our true feelings, and vocalise our truest thoughts. Our immediate family hopefully love us unconditionally and therefore we feel safe exposing that side of ourselves to them. That doesn’t make it right. And you’re right in saying that is discourteous to the ones we love most. Finding a way to talk more freely so feelings do not bottle up might be a route through, it’s usually when we feel misunderstood or not heard that anger manifests. Good luck to us all. 🙂

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Stuart, You’re right about being able to show our true feelings at home. That is so important. What I meant was sometimes we overlook trying to be courteous with our loved ones and save our “best selves” for the outside world. It is crucial that we share our feelings so that we’re not misunderstood, as you said. Great comment! Thanks so much.

  2. Great reminder to be our best selves with those we love the most. thank you.

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