Common Courtesy

Common Courtesy is often a misconstrued and misunderstood term. I view common courtesy just like I view common sense… it’s not so common! #FACTS. I literally just Googled, “What is Common Courtesy?” and here is one of the first items that popped up:

In fourth grade, my son received a handout about common courtesy. All elementary schools should incorporate a lesson about common courtesy each year!

Yes, you read that right. Fourth graders are being taught about the concept of common courtesy. Because I literally just had this conversion with a grown person (as ridiculous as that is…), I thought I would blog about it. Here is what fourth graders are being taught (emphasis mine):

  1. Show respect for others. When appropriate, say please, thank you and excuse me. After you receive a gift, make sure you write a thank you note or follow up with a phone call, email or text message. Do not use the word “shut up” – it is offensive!
  2. Always apologize when you do something wrong. When you physically or emotionally hurt someone apologize even if it’s an accident. If you make a mistake, try to make amends whenever possible. This starts with being self-aware and honest about your actions, regardless of your intentions.
  3. When someone is having a conversation, do not interrupt. If you must interrupt a conversation, make sure you are polite and say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt but…”
  4. When you change your plans, let others know. Honor your word. If you commit to plans, make sure you show up. If something comes up (which it always does), make sure you contact others immediately. Why is this so difficult? When you don’t have the basic foresight to do this I call it #selfish #inconsiderate #nohometraining
  5. Respect the needs of others in public. Do not talk obnoxiously or loudly in public. Be aware of your surroundings and the people in the vicinity; use your cell phone in a private place. Always be respectful towards the people that serve you.
  6. Never embarrass another person. It is NOT polite to embarrass someone. In fact, it’s rude and mean and only serves to portray you as a bully. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything. I read something great  in a book one time – You have the right to remain silent!
  7. When refusing an invitation, be kind and honest. We cannot attend every function so sometimes you will need to politely decline an invitation. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation but it’s wrong to lie to someone. #priorities
  8. Respect your elders. Always be polite to adults and treat them with respect. Go out of your way to help elderly people, e.g., hold the door open. Consider having a conversation with them – that may put a smile on their face.
  9. Use good table manners. I’m not implying you should put a napkin on your lap or keep your elbows off the table every time you eat. You should however, chew with your mouth shut and never speak with food in your mouth – that’s gross! Do not use your fingers unless, of course, it’s finger food. Use your napkin not your shirt and don’t lick your fingers.
  10. Respect other people’s property. Treat other people’s possessions like they were your own. If you lose or ruin something that belongs to someone else, fix or replace it. How about we also add put things back where you found them!

If fourth graders are being taught these basic concepts / principles, what excuses do adults have?? NONE. ZILCH. ZERO.

One thing I can say is that regardless of whether or not people show common courtesy to you, never let it alter your behavior or standards.

Give what you expect but also demand what you deserve! ~Bri Alys

Math for Homeowners

math-homeownerDoes buying a home make good financial sense? Does the Math for Homeowners work out? As I sit (or lay) here and watch Inside Job, a documentary on the late 2000’s financial crisis, I am (again) horrified by the series of events, collusion and massive manipulation that took place at the highest levels. To repeat a comment from the documentary, “The US is a Wall Street government.” It makes me question again and again if I really want to buy another house – I go back and forth and back and forth in my mind on this concept ALL THE TIME.

Read the summary below from Fortune Magazine that contradicts the traditional “tax benefit” argument:

The mortgage interest deduction doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re still paying a lot of interest.

  • While I understand that it’s possible to buy a house without a mortgage, the large percentage of homeowners (more than 70%) take out a loan.

  • With average mortgage rates at 4.3% (as of this morning), you’ll actually pay $356,307.44 for a $200,000 home: $156,307.44 in interest alone.

  • Averaged over 30 years, that works out to a little over $5,000 per year (even though in practice you pay the most interest at the beginning).

  • Assuming you’re in a 25% bracket – and you itemize – that works out to a tax savings of just over $1,300 per year.

  • But the word “savings” is somewhat of a misnomer because you’re still out of pocket more than you get back in tax savings: in our example, you would “save” less than $40,000 while paying out more than $150,000 in interest.