We Are One Human Family

A lady and a gentleman do not see each other as different but rather as similar with unique and different qualities.  What do I mean?  I mean that instead of seeing each other noticing what is different like skin color, dress, education level, sense of humor, behavior, religion, sexual orientation and the list goes on and on, we see each other as people...moms and dads, sons and daughters all striving and hoping to find love, peace, acceptance, respect, appreciation, sincerity, and more.  

Yes of course we may look different, but why notice?  Why not look at each other through different lenses?  The lenses that focus on the things that we have in common.  I know we might think that we are not prejudice or we do not make differences but often we do and we do not even recognize it.

For instance, have we ever said, “There was this cute little black boy on the playground this morning...”?  Why wouldn’t we just say, “There was this cute little boy on the playground this morning...”  Why would we ever point out his skin color?  Why do we need to do that?  What difference does it make?  Does it make our story better?  Does it play into some stereotype we are trying to make a connection to?  Do you see how this is pointing out differences that aren’t important?

I’m sure all of us want to be proud of our heritage, our cultural, our families ( at least I hope so),  but a lady and a gentleman see each other as valued human beings that share common hopes and dreams.  A lady and a gentleman strive to show value in each other and know that words really do matter.

It’s a wonderful thing when people recognize valuable things about other cultures and races and draw attention to those beautiful things.  

Let’s be careful however, not to point to generalizations regarding races and cultures.  None of us enjoy to be placed in a big group and then assumptions  made about us depending on the group we have been associated with.  We are unique.  We have our own thoughts, ideas and goals.

Let’s give everyone the same benefit we desire...to be recognized for our accomplishments, our character, our integrity, our hard work.

Have a great month,

Monica Irvine
Certified Etiquette Educator and Life Skills Coach

Self Control...A True Etiquette Principle

Hello Friends.  I would like to discuss a skill that all gentlemen and ladies should strive to possess…that of self-control.  

Self-control is an attribute that requires one to consciously make an effort to be in control of one’s emotions, actions and speech.  

We all know people who have little self-control.  They are the ones who “blow their tops” rather quickly, get easily “rattled” and “put their foot in their mouth” very often.  I hope this isn’t us.

When we consider that we want to raise our children believing that they are not a victim to circumstances or helpless to physical appetites or pleasures, we might want to examine if we live our own life in a way that exemplifies this belief system.  

Here are some self-checks to consider:
  • Do we find ourselves often being blamed for other’s hurt feelings?  If so, we might need to ask someone we trust, love and admire to be honest with us by asking, “Am I rude?  Do I sound condescending or judgmental when I speak to others?  If you were to advice me on one thing that you thought would help me if I changed in my conversation with others, what would it be?”  Then, be courageous enough to hear and act and thank your friend who loves you.

  • Do we find ourselves angry at least once per day?  How about once per week?  Either of these amounts is a sure sign that we are struggling with understanding and controlling our emotions.  Studies show that people who get angry more often are more unhappy.  You might be saying, “Duh?”  However, here’s something to consider.  We choose to be angry.  No one forces you or I to ever become angry.  It’s a choice.  And when we choose it, we are choosing unhappiness.

  • Are we a slave to a bad habit?  Do we have to have an alcoholic drink each day to “calm our nerves” or relax us?  Do we have to have our coffee in the morning or we have no way of being responsible for our grouchiness, sleepiness or lack of focus.  I could go on but the simple truth is this.  If you need outside unhealthy habits to keep you going, you are allowing something other than yourself to be in control of you.

Choose to be an example that your children can look to in all things, even in self control.

Have a great month,

Monica Irvine

Let’s offer Everyone the Same Rights

This great country that you and I are privileged to live in is a gift, a gift to be cherished, protected and honored.  As ladies and gentlemen, it is our duty to demonstrate to others through our actions and our words that we respect and honor their rights, opinions, beliefs and the guiding principles that they live by.

I know we talk about this often, but it seems to be a topic that further discussion and exploration is always needed.  Most of us have come to believe certain ideas and principles to be true.  We’ve reached these beliefs through our upbringing, our life experiences and often research and study.  Thank goodness we are in charge of our own brains.  If you’re like me, you want to be allowed to believe what you believe and not be judged, ridiculed or persecuted assuming that our beliefs and actions do not place the safety of those around us in jeopardy.  

Please allow me to give you an example of a “hot topic” issue to illustrate my larger point of this consideration.  Example–– if you want to believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, then you must also allow others to believe that marriage is between any two people, regardless of gender.  If you support that marriage is between any two people, regardless of gender, than you must also allow others to only support that marriage is between one man and one woman based on their beliefs.  Yes, you absolutely can speak of your beliefs and try to persuade others to come to the knowledge of the truths that you believe, but you must do so only by acting in love, patience, kindness and understanding.  

We all want the same rights to act upon our own beliefs, but so often, we try to eliminate the rights of others through legislation and other methods, simply because we do not share their beliefs.  We personally attack those who do not share our beliefs by using terms such as bigot, self righteous, judgmental, closed-minded, etc.  

We have a system in this great country in order to make change.  We allow our voice to be heard through our vote, through contacting our representatives, by protesting and teaching and giving information and all of these are acceptable practices in trying to bring about change.  

Ladies and gentlemen use the appropriate methods to give support to your causes and speak, speak loudly, but do so without insulting those you disagree with you.  

We must do all we can to protect the rights of the innocent, the rights of individual freedom and the right for all to pursue happiness.  No apology is necessary for believing the way you do, but respect for those who do not share your beliefs is required for every lady and gentleman.

Showing Value to Others

Time...time is the equalizer for us all.  We’ve all been given time, some shorter than others but nevertheless this “time” is important, because what we do with our time is what determines our happiness, success, and future.

Watching the recent events in Paris have caused me to ponder again the lack of knowledge of so many on the value of human life.  This lacking value system is vas and complicated but truly we can do our part to influence a better way, a better ideology by showing those we come into contact with that we do indeed value them and all human life.  How do we do it?  We start here.

We start by living our lives in a way that shows value to others.  

That’s what etiquette is all about, remember.  Etiquette is an outward demonstration of how we feel about others.  It’s NOT a list of do’s and don’ts that we “check off” and when we do we can announce that we have good etiquette.  It’s an inner belief that others should be placed above ourselves.  When we do this, we give ourselves the most valuable and rewarding gift that can be given, self respect.

Today, show your children that you value them by setting down your phone, moving away from your computer for an extended period of time and focus on nothing else but them.  Look them in the eyes, listen to their questions, find out how they are feeling today.

Today, show your spouse or companion that you value them by doing a small act of uninvited service for them.  What would make their day a little easier?  Maybe ironing their shirt, maybe fixing them a piece of toast and glass of orange juice, maybe helping them look for their briefcase.  Just do something that reminds them that you care, you love them and serving them makes you happy.

Today, show your colleague that you value them by asking them about something that you know they are concerned with, whether it’s their wayward son, a big account, their stock portfolio, etc.  It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they know that we were listening last week when they shared just for a moment something that was bothering them and we remember.

Today, show the stranger at Starbucks or the stranger you pass on the street that you value them by smiling and saying, “Good morning.”  Just something to show them that you see them, they are not invisible and you care.

It starts small.  May we never miss an opportunity to show others that we value them.  It’s the only way to be valuable.

Have a great month!
Very best,

Monica Irvine