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Thursday, February 2, 2023

In a Word: Courtesy

We asked three community influencers to share their thoughts on one word.

JOE KIEFER
“To me, courtesy is more than being polite or civil to each other; it is paradigm — an approach to how we should live, work, and interact with others. The ‘Golden Rule,’ as Christ quoted in the New Testament, is to ‘do to others what you would have them do to you.’ Living by the Golden Rule is courtesy. It can be as simple as greeting people with a smile and a friendly hello. It also can be difficult and hard to show courtesy when people treat you wrongly or are mean-spirited. But, if your approach in life is to be courteous, then it will lift you up and lift others up as well. As the saying goes, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Whether at home, at work, or at play, courtesy is a word to live by; it’s the ‘rising tide’ that lifts us all up. It is infectious, so show your courtesy.”  

Kiefer is the president of Hahn Kiefer Real Estate Services, currently serves on the Vanderburgh County Council, was a former county commissioner, and served two terms as an Evansville city councilman.

ANDY OWEN
“Grantland Rice ends his poem ‘Alumnus Football’ with ‘For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name — He marks — not that you won or lost — but how you played the game.’ When I think of courtesy, I think of treating others with respect. In athletics, courtesy also is known as sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is showing your opponent, as well as your teammates, courtesy. It is shaking hands after a game. It is helping a fallen player up. By showing courtesy on the field, the court, the mat, or the track, it helps us to truly enjoy the sport for what it is — a game. This same courtesy extends into our daily lives. Encouraging others, lending a helping hand, and showing respect are of the utmost importance. In athletics, if you show courtesy, you are deemed a ‘good sport;’ in life, if you show courtesy, you are a good person. If we are to look at life as a game, if we are to extend courtesy during our time of play, then in the end it doesn’t matter who is deemed the winner, because we can all take pride in how we played the game.”

Owen is the director of athletics and physical activities for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.

AIMEE STACHURA
“Correct forks aside, courtesy is more than good manners. It shows a person has an understanding for other people’s feelings and needs. Whether it’s holding a door open for a stranger, taking a moment to write a thank you note, or just saying please, a person who is courteous goes a long way toward creating a better community for all of us. However, a courteous person does not just happen; becoming a kind, compassionate member of society starts early. From promoting first words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to providing experiences where one learns to serve others, a person’s character is built as confidence grows through practice. Encouraging courteous behavior also takes a village. For example, it can come from home, church, school, a sports team, or a Girl Scout troop meeting. As leaders, it’s our job to be that village and work to create the next generation of thoughtful, courteous leaders who will make the world a better place.”

Stachura is the chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana.

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