Saturday, August 03, 2013

Extending Courtesy

The day my Mother moved to her assisted-living retirement home, I felt very heavy in my heart. It was difficult to sit in her room visiting knowing that I would have to leave her there and go somewhere different. One of the ladies who worked there peeked into the room and seeing me there, wheeled in a cart with tea things and served me a cup of hot tea and some tea sandwiches from the kitchen. This courtesy took away some of the sting of having to leave.

 I visited every day and each time, word would get around amongst the staff that I was there, and the assistants, housekeepers and social workers (the ones who conduct all the art classes and other activities) came in to greet me. I even made friends with the ladies in the kitchen and made sure I stopped to say hello to them.  

I have since been recalling the pleasantness of those moments when someone brought me refreshments on a tray. As a homemaker, I usually am the one bringing things to people, and it was a great feeling having something brought to me.  In determining how to serve others, I believe the easiest way to figure out what to do is to think of the things that give you the most joy and then give it to others.  It was a simple courtesy that gave me the most delight.
There are other simple courtesies that we all need to be reminded of:  

*Showing appreciation to those who extend courtesy to you.
*Being careful not to be too inquisitive about personal things; not prying or being pushy.
*Relaxing the face with a pleasant smile and warm, friendly eyes.
*Returning the favor if you can, and if not, passing it forward to someone else.  This is an age-old Christian practice. We think of kindnesses extended to us while we were growing up to help us on life's road, and we return the favor by helping someone else the same way. Christians do not like to be "paid back" necessarily, as it is a blessing to give, rather than to receive, but they do want to have an impact on the lives of those they serve and hope others will imitate the Christ-like spirit by doing the same for others.
*Being careful to dress respectfully. I remember a woman who dressed up to go to the retirement center for a visit, and one of the residents asked why she was dressed up. She answered, "Because I am coming to visit you."
*Extend the courtesy of respecting privacy. Sense when someone wants to be left alone, but respond when someone extends hospitality.
*Avoid sarcastic remarks or little innuendos that will cast a cloud of gloom on others.
*Making a place better (neater, cleaner, comfortable, happier) because you were there.
*Look on the bright side of things, and if there does not seem to be a bright side, make a bright side.


SharonR said...

I have a feeling, there's more to come on this subject... Leaning in to read more. :-)

Lydia said...

I meant to write "to be continued". Yes, there will be a little more, hopefully, when I get time. The paintings say a lot, though.

Barbara said...

I, too, am "leaning in" to learn more. Excellent post. Thank you.

SharonR said...

Your words are always good, Lydia. Thank you for this post.

Lydia said...

the lady I knew who dressed up to visit the retirement apartments had a tea trolley and brought afternoon tea to people. They always loved to see her coming. I am not sure you could do that these days, as it is so carefully restricted about what non-staff members are allowed to do. I do know that being the recipient of the tray with tea and sandwiches was so wonderful I just dream about going back to the retirement home and visiting my mother and having the staff bring us two tea on the trolley.

Alex said...

All very good reminders, and very timely for me as I may soon be in this situation (retirement home) with my father. I hope we find as good a one as your mother did!
I am glad they made you welcome, it makes such a big difference.

I do so like to visit your blog.
I always leave feeling peaceful and optimistic: thank you, Lady Lydia.

Mary said...

What a wonderful article.