I have owned my own company for over a quarter of a century and during that time I have had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life who encompass every station imaginable on the ladder of leadership and responsibility. Experience has taught me that no matter where you may stand on the ladder, showing respect and common courtesies to another human being is not only the right thing to do, but also the best thing to do. My grandmother would say, if you were to fall down the ladder, you better have been kind to others so the person below you will catch you.
Growing up, most people were taught what is called, “home training.” Once again, my grandmother was on it. She may not have known all of the dos and don’ts when it came to which fork to use or where certain glasses were placed on the table, but she made sure we knew things such as how to be respectful, polite and the art of writing the handwritten thank you note. A very dear friend of mine by the name of Karen Elyse Hudson, along with her colleague Karen Grigsby Bates, wrote a book called, “The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times.” The book serves as a guide for gracious living that covers the essentials of Black American traditions with updates for the new millennium. One of the quotes they share that really touched me was, “…if we choose to live our lives without genuine respect for morality, character, kindness and other people…” where will we end up as a society?
I recently had the opportunity to attend and graduate from the accredited Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) in Washington DC. It was something I was working towards and anticipating for over seven months. The school was originally founded by Dorothea Johnson and the current president and owner is Pamela Eyring. PSOW provides good training in various areas, but especially focuses on the need to understand civility and cross-cultural understanding, as well as the basics of protocol and etiquette. Teaching personal leadership skills to enhance professional development and to treat others with dignity and respect is important to them. I personally feel many people would benefit from taking this course and learn how to go back to the basics. We should all practice treating others not just how we want to be treated, but also understand what is the right and proper way to treat others.
Etiquette is defined as “the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.” Protocol is defined as “the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.” Oftentimes I stay clear of being too vocal about political matters, but according to an upcoming event hosted by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, they are posing the question, “Has America abdicated its vital leadership role?” It is my opinion, along with many others, that America is not looked upon with the type of respect and leadership it once held because many of our leaders have not been practicing good etiquette and protocol. We must get our manners back!
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