“They call me MISTER Tibbs!” – Virgil Tibbs, played by Sydney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night
It was a rare night out with my kids and my parents. We were celebrating one of my kids’ birthdays, so we went to one of our favorite restaurants. The waiter was not even as old as I am, yet he kept calling my father by his first name or by some slang name like “Buddy”. My dad has eaten at restaurants for a lot of his meals, entertaining clients over the years. So, I’m sure he’s dealt with all kinds of servers.
I guess it didn’t bother him or he was just too gracious to say so, but I was about to throttle the waiter. I kept envisioning myself getting in his face and shouting, with the stern power of Sydney Poitier, “His name is MISTER Moore!” Not wishing to make a scene, I said nothing, but I made sure to explain to my children that when they are speaking with an elder they are to say Mister or Miss/Mrs. and their last name until instructed by the elder to do otherwise.
It got me to thinking – What other basic relational skills do my kids need to be taught? These used to be common behavior, simple politeness, but not anymore. So, call me old-fashioned, but I think these are worth holding onto.
- Look a person in the eye when you are conversing with him.
- Offer your hand when you meet someone and give a firm handshake.
- Smile. You’d be surprised what a smile can do for your face (and your relationships).
- Ask about the other person and listen attentively.
- Use the proper title and name (see above).
Am I the only one who gets bothered by things like this? What else do we need to remember?