It is learned from your Mother. It can be taught, but is intensely effective for a lifetime if learned at a young age. It is constant loving reminders, a continual probing of what is good and the right thing to do.
I recently had a house guest who definitely had a “teaching” Mother. When she arrived and was introduced she handed me a lovely basket. It included a large bag of Starbucks coffee, English Breakfast tea bags, and homemade truffles. There was black sheer fabric draped beautifully with large faux diamonds sprinkled around. Saying the least, it was exquisite. Again saying the least, I was duly impressed. My guest was a lovely, very young, 20ish year old lady.
During her stay, I rarely knew she was there, save spending time with her. She was conscious of keeping her things in order, bedroom and bath. (I have a luggage stand I always provide. Her things were all place neatly on and around it.) I cooked dinner and she immediately offered to help then began clearing the table when we finished. She never left the kitchen until all was back in perfect order.
I enjoyed her stay. Yes, I loved the gift basket. But no, that is not why she impressed me so. It was her teaching. Her Mother had absolutely taught her well.
The next person that comes to mind is a 9 year old. He is infinitely kind.
I slammed the door of my car with the side door of the church in sight. Choir practice had already begun and we simultaneously began rushing across the parking lot. He was at a full run, me a walk. He beat me to the door and when he swung it open, I could see inside that the elevator door was being held. He looked back and made a split second decision. His head swung back and forth twice in just a few seconds. His decision was whether to continue running inside to catch the elevator or hold the door for the lady approaching. Be aware, I still had a good ways to go. He paused, and held the door. He waited patiently while I finished walking up. I couldn’t help but smile. He wanted to run inside and catch the elevator, but the positive influences in his life, his “teachings” won. I was so proud. And he is a mere 9 years old. I applaud his Mother and Father. If he’s got it at 9, it will only be enforced and will carry through his life.
For now, I'm your Mother. So listen. Take a hostess gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple candle, homemade candy, or package of funny cocktail napkins is perfect. Just let the person you are visiting know your appreciation. Leave the area you are staying in tidy. Don’t leave your shoes in the middle of the great room floor. Clear your things from the bathroom. Rinse your drink glasses. Be as invisible as possible, yet hospitable. (Remember, house guests are like fish. In 3 days they begin to stink.)
Speak out loud the compliment that crosses your mind. Hold the door for the lady with the baby in the stroller. Mail a card to someone grieving. Invite a friend to lunch.
Ok. You’ve now been told. Heed please.=)
P.S. Brittany and Jayce, you know who you are.