Thursday, May 08, 2008

worth the effort

Gaye is probably the politest person I know. She always says her pleases and thank yous, she is always kind and polite to everyone regardless of how often she will see them or any role they may be taking on in their working or personal lives. She engages with the people around her all the time - meets their eyes and smiles (she can
be a bit of flirt but that is another story) waves to folks in other cars when they let her in at the lights etc etc. Even when someone is rude to her she usually responds with very good manners - and an even tone which is dead impressive (and probably more effective) when she is rebuking.

I am not always so polite. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am regularly rude or anything but I don't have the impeccable manners she does. I sometimes wander off to bed without saying goodnight. I can be distracted by the phone or the kids and so not always engage with the person I am buying my milk from. I try, but I am not anywhere near Gaye.

It has taken some effort on my part to teach Thomas to look people in the eye when they come and go and greet/farewell them properly (he was very shy as a small boy but at 9 and the size of your average 13 year old this is not a good look). And my father was such a beast about table manners (thou he is a completely warm and fuzzy grandparent on this issue) and so I have some issues and have relied heavily on Gaye to be the leader in this department.

As I have got older I have become increasingly intolerant of bad behaviour (I am working my way to being a grumpy old woman) and I have however become an excellent feedback via email person (FvE) which has effectively curbed me losing my temper at call centre types who tell me 'the computer says no' over and over and through really no fault of their own cop my frustration and anger. And I have found that an complaint email generally gets a more proactive response anyway, plus the boys don't see me lose my temper so much AND I don't feel as bad afterwards as I am more measured when I need to write something down.

Simultaneously in the last couple of years I have become increasingly aware of how important it is to thank the people who do the stuff that we all rely on so I have taken to emailing my thanks to staff in hospitals who treat the boys well and hotels where someone took a little extra effort with us.

This week I have emailed new school (the headmistress) just to say thanks for all of the extra effort and the patience the teachers and administrative staff at the school have shown while we settle in. I also emailed my local member (whose son went to my sons school last year and so we worked on sausage sizzles together) to say that I appreciate the direction the Government is taking in relation to the same-sex parenting stuff.

Both have replied saying it is so nice to get back positive feedback I am feeling like it was worth the effort..

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