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“O people of God! I exhort (urge) you to courtesy.” 3
What does the word courtesy mean?. It means to be polite and to consider others. Our parents teach us how we should greet people when we meet them, and how we should welcome them into our homes. The important thing to remember is that we are showing our respect by behaving in the way that is expected of a polite person in our culture. By being courteous we make the other person feel good inside and this is what Baha’ullah teaches us: “O people of God! I exhort (urge) you to courtesy. Courtesy is in the primary (first) station, the Lord of all virtues.” 3
Let us go through these words again. We are urged and encouraged to be courteous. By being named ‘the Lord of all virtues’ it means that it is very important. Let us learn some of these words – “Blessed is he who is illumined with the light of courtesy.” It is as if our courtesy to others is like a light that lights us up. Let us say the words several times to memorize them.
How should we behave when visitors come? Think of things that our parents do, and what do they like us do? How do we make our visitors happy and feel welcome?
Now here is a story:- Once there were two boys named Vusi and Tembo who came from different families. They lived near to the Mr and Mrs Manda who owned a TV set. One day the Mandas met Vusi and Tembo on the street and after greeting the boys they invited them to come round to their house to watch an interesting video. Vusi just kicked the dust with his foot and didn’t say anything. Tembo said, “Thank you, I would love to watch a video, but I cannot come today as I promised my mother to bring her some sugar from the shop.”
Shortly after Mr and Mrs Manda got home they heard a voice – “Hey, you!” – and found Vusi at the door. “I want to see the program,” he said. They asked him in and showed him to a chair. Then they spoke to him for a few minutes and then turned on the TV. Vusi sat watching, rocking his chair backwards and forwards. When the video was finished, Mrs Manda brought in some tea and cookies. Vusi drank the tea and ate several cookies. He then stuffed some cookies in his pockets and with a gruff, “I must go now,” he pushed open the door and disappeared down the road.
The next day Mr and Mrs Manda heard a knock at their door. On opening the door they found Tembo standing there. “Good afternoon,” he said, shaking hands with Mr Manda. “Would it be OK for me to see that video you talked about? Or would it be better if I came another day?”
“It would be just fine to see it now. We were just finished working in the vegetable garden and were coming in anyway.” Mr Manda showed Tembo to a chair and put on the TV. Tembo sat quietly watching until the video program was finished. Then he got up..”Thank you for letting me watch the video. I enjoyed it very much.” “We are glad you enjoyed it,” said Mrs Manda. I was just going to make some tea. Would you like some?” “Yes, please,” said Tembo, “but I cannot stay much longer as my mother will be expecting me home.”
After having some tea and cookies, Tembo rose to go. “Thank you again, so much” he said. “Here are some cookies to take home for your little sister,” said Mrs Manda, and as they parted at the door while Mr Manda said, “We were so happy to have you visit us. We will have another program in the series next week, and we would be so pleased if you can visit us again.”
*Which boy had not learned to be courteous? Which boy was welcome to come again? Yes, we must think about behaving courtesyly, which will make us welcome wherever we go.
Here is a picture of the table with refreshments on it. There is a picture of your empty plate. Draw the things you would like to eat on your plate and then colour the whole picture.
Draw a picture of some children showing courtesy to visitors.
Write four lines giving examples of how you could show courtesy at any time. If you have time draw a picture to go with your sentences.
3. Baha’u’llah quoted in Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 80