Education Week Moment: The Art of Being Gracious

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    By Sam Scorup

    Currently, many members of society struggle to maintain traditional values such as good etiquette, courtesy and posture, Barbara Barrington Jones said on Monday, the opening day of BYU”s Education Week.

    Jones cited Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Jon Huntsman, Sr., and her mother as positive examples of people who influenced other lives for good.

    She referred to a quote from Huntsman, saying the most beautiful person is the one that is kind.

    Jones also played a video with a song about Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, featuring the lyrics “many different roads can lead to glory.” Not everyone has to be a princess to impact others; all people can find a way to make a difference, Jones said.

    “We are all of royal birth,” she said.

    Some of the protocol that is being lost includes the failure to RSVP and send “thank you” notes.

    “Manners are not optional,” Jones said.

    Although the Bible says the Lord looks at a person”s heart whereas the world looks at what is on the outside, one”s outward form of personal presentation is important, Jones said, while illustrating her point with a story.

    She was driven to a location just outside one of the LDS temples. The driver said he came to that spot daily, to the surprise of Jones. The driver then asked Jones to tell him what”s inside the temple, if and when she entered it.

    The outer beauty of the temple had piqued someone”s curiosity regarding what goes on inside the temple, Jones said. Likewise, a person”s outer presentation can help others desire to get to know who the person really is on the inside.

    Everyone has a 10-foot circle of influence, Jones said. One can impact anyone who is within that distance by smiling or saying a kind word and making them feel as if they are “the best and only person in the world,” Jones said.

    Of particular note to students may be what she shared at a girls” camp about getting better grades. Using the acronym SLANT, Jones gave five keys to improving one”s performance in school – sitting in the front of the classroom, leaning forward, asking questions, nodding one”s head and thanking the teacher.

    Jones encouraged members of her audience to be warm, polite, gracious, hopeful and tolerant.

    “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” she said.

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