Courtesy: Key to a Happier World
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a minister and writer, is known for his inspirational writing on a variety of topics. This magazine article, “Courtesy: Key to a Happier World,” shows his conviction, or very strong belief, that the world would be a better place if people were more courteous to each other.
In the first half of the article, Dr. Peale classifies the components of courtesy. In the second half, he gives three pieces of advice on how to improve one’s manners. Although his topic is a serious one, Dr. Peale writes about it simply, with down-to-earth examples and anecdotes to illustrate his points; he keeps his large, public audience in mind. As a Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In simpler words, it means you should treat others the way you want to be treated. In this article he refers to the Golden Rule, assuming his audience is familiar with it.
Dr. Peale lists the three components of courtesy and gives three tips to improve one’s manners. Justice, Empathy, and the Capacity to treat all people alike, are the three components of courtesy. And the ways to improve one’s manners are by practicing courtesy (concentrating in your performance and not letting other’s bad manners make you rude), thinking in a courteous way, and being able to accept courtesy.
Justice is one of the components which is very important and the one that is less used. We tend to consider that what is good for us is good for everyone. It is one of the most selfish attitude we have as citizens. For example, if we like to listen to loud music all day long, why do we think that the neighborhood enjoys the same? I think we have to start using this principle of justice.
Empathy is about considering other people’s feeling which is also important, but generally we are not worried about that. And the last component is the capacity to treat all people alike, which is one of most difficult things to do because we consider that there are people who do not deserve our best manners. Anyway, we could try to put this into practice and see what happens.
Peale tells us about ways to improve our manners, which are practicing courtesy, thinking in a courteous way and being able to accept courtesy. All of them are difficult to use because we don’t know how we are going to treat in a good way to a person that is being rude with us. But perhaps in this point is the key to be strong and not letting that others’ bad manners ruin our days. Thinking in a courteous way is also complicated, to be considerate of others is not an easy issue but it is not impossible. And the last advice is about being able to accept courtesy, which could be the easiest one.
To conclude, courtesy makes our lives happier because if we are treated in a good way, that makes us happy. And if we are treated in a bad way but we answer in a courteous way, we feel that we are doing what is correct, and we feel happy and satisfied with ourselves. That’s why I agree with the author that courtesy can make our world better than the present one.