I have nothing against paper plates and plastic forks … Oh wait, yes, I do. My mother never uses them. If she invites you over for hamburgers, she uses porcelain plates, silverware, and stemmed glasses. The food is always served in decorative bowls. She has cabinets full of them in every size and for every reason from pickle dishes to large glass trays.
Guests are worth the time and effort for you to wash things afterward, and they’re happier because you’ve made the effort.
Buy gifts. And don’t be cheap.
She has a card for everything, keeps a cabinet full of them. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays where it’s required, she will send you one. She has a running account at the florist where they know her by name. Generosity is part of her nature, and if, for some reason, she’s roped into spending more than she has planned, she never complains. Giving is important and the heart behind it of the most value.
People are wrong.
When I was girl, I’d come home, quoting things I’d heard at school, and she’d look me in the eye and say, “They’re wrong.”
That mentality solved so many situations in my life. Because, the fact is, a lot of people nowadays are just plain wrong. Not everything goes. The rules are there for a reason and not meant to be broken or changed. Rules make you a better person, a freer one.
At the same time, she always says:
It’s okay to be different.
Her saying was, “If it’s immoral or illegal,” don’t do it.
This means, I can hate watermelon and refuse to drink coffee. Neither one are illegal or immoral. I can prefer to stay home and refuse to leave home after dark. Conversely, you can sleep in and stay out late and eat all the melons you desire.
It’s okay to be unique and bad to condemn others for things that aren’t against God’s Word.
Be thankful for everything, no matter how small.
Even if you hate it. She’s eaten more meals she didn’t like (Fish!) and not said a word crosswise. She prepares dishes for her guests that she won’t eat.
She writes thank you cards for gifts she’s given and reciprocates in kind. Being thankful is an important part of being a good guest and a good person. Always appreciate other people’s efforts. This seed of kindness will multiply back to you one hundred fold.
Lower your voice.
Use your inside voice. There’s no need to yell. In fact, though I fail at this one regularly, she doesn’t raise her voice ever. I can’t recall hearing her shout, unless she was calling my dad in from his woodworking shop.
Politeness is cool.
Say please and thank you and excuse me. Don’t blow your nose at the dining room table. Clean up after yourself in the kitchen or the bathroom. If you are renting a room on vacation or staying with friends, always leave the place better than it was when you arrived.
The biggest key to politeness is to always consider the other person first.
Refuse to take offense and be sure to walk in forgiveness. Hate and anger only lead to bitterness, and bitterness will cancel out your faith.
Apologize even if it isn’t your fault.
It is most important to walk in peace. The Bible says to “seek peace” to “pursue it”. That means, even when you know the other person was in error. If your refusal to say “I’m sorry” fosters strife, then it is your job to apologize and correct it. (Ps 34:14)
Keep your word.
Sometimes this means not making promises in the first place. Other times, it means doing things you’ve changed your mind about, but an honorable person will “swear to their own hurt” and follow through. (Ps 15:4)
Most of all:
Stand up for what you believe.
Never compromise to fit in, and always tell the truth. Lying will get you nowhere. And God is able and willing to take care of you in the first place. Nothing in this world is worth turning aside from your faith.
Suzanne D. Williams