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Real Answers™
Copyright: © ©2004 James J. Jackson
600 words


By: James J. Jackson


A woman gave my young grandson a small toy, which he took without comment. I told him to thank the lady, but this usually compliant child refused to say the words. The woman insisted that I should not force the child to say “thank you.”

I told him to either thank the lady or return the gift. He reluctantly thanked her; then I explained to him that being thankful and courteous is as much for his own well being as it is for the person being thanked. Recently I witnessed a mother struggling to get her child to apologize for hitting another child. The amount of resistance the child displayed was alarming.

It seems that what used to be considered common courtesy is not so common anymore. Courtesy has been replaced by selfishness and an uncaring attitude toward others. Television programs and movies glorify the in-your-face approach to others and the “all about me” attitude. Young people either have lost or never grasped the art of kindness and respect.

Children who are not taught to treat others as they would want to be treated grow up to contribute to the crowded “Anger Management” classes and, in extreme cases, the prison population. Society seems to preach that being courteous, thankful or apologetic shows some kind of weakness, when, in fact, it shows strength and self-control.

When our four daughters were young, they often had sibling spats. If two sisters displayed anger toward one another my wife would often make them apologize to each other, then hug each other until both smiled. It is heartwarming to watch them pass on to their children the lessons of being courteous and loving toward their siblings and others.

During the 1970’s, one small phrase in the movie, “Love Story” (“Love…means never having to say you’re sorry”), put many viewers on the course toward today’s attitude of failing to take responsibility for one’s actions. It seemed such a profound line. In truth, love means caring enough about someone whom you may have offended or hurt to say you’re sorry and take steps to make it right. It means caring enough to be thankful to others.

Many of today’s distressing social and moral problems stem from a loss of the type of personal and societal ethics that for many years kept in check the level of animosity we showed each other. The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus declared that, after loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, loving each other is the greatest Commandment.

When we exhibit love toward each other, it illustrates God’s love for us. Knowing and seeing all, He knew that His prime creation had fallen into deadly sin, and could not save itself. Rather than watch us struggle and give in and be lost for all eternity, He became one of us, in the Person of Jesus Christ, and took the punishment for our sin and died for us. He then rose from the dead to show us that, through Him, we will rise again also. Any person, no matter how much sin baggage he or she is carrying, who repents, or apologizes to God, asks Christ to come into their life and be their Savior, and thanks Him for the free gift of eternal life, already has eternal life, according to God’s Word.

When we are loving and courteous with each other, we reflect our relationship with Christ, and we show His love to others. All He asks is that we share that love with others, through our actions and words.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;


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