Everyone loves an open-door policy. But earlier this week I saw a different take on the phrase.
Sitting at a red light in traffic, a young couple walked across in front of my car. Holding hands, they stepped into the parking lot. It was then I saw a different open-door policy play out.
Instead of each walking to their respective doors, he walked with the young woman around the front of the car and around her door. Reaching down, he opened the door wide and stepped aside for her to get in. And only when he was sure she was comfortably settled in did he close the door. He then walked back around the car and got in.
To some this 15-seconds of life might not seem particularly noteworthy. But I can assure you there are plenty of us out there who are seeing less and less of what we once considered common courtesy.
This is not about gender, but rather respect.
My wife and I have a son and a daughter. And for our entire lives, we’ve encouraged them to treat each other with respect based on reverence instead of perceived weakness or thinking less of the other. Chromosomes are never an excuse to treat another with anything other than the utmost respect or extending opportunities.
The best thing about raising both a son and daughter was the opportunity to teach through example. And we believe teaching respect should begin at home – giving our children a front row seat to what we hoped they would one day carry forward. And in our house, even the simple act of passing the scalloped potatoes was to include a please and thank you.
As kids, they plain wore out the words thank you and please. When particularly young we even ignored requests without the critical word. We hoped doing so would painlessly allow them to become adults who never found themselves having to remember to practice the basics tenants of respectful manners in any given situation.
I have always opened the door for my wife – beginning on our first date. Not because she couldn’t do it herself or I felt like as the male it was my job to open a door for her, but because I never wanted to miss an opportunity to show her how much I valued and respected her in my life. This is not about gender, but me wanting her to know how lucky I feel that she is letting me be a part of her universe. Being with her made me happy and a better person. Why wouldn’t I do everything I could to let her know?
This young couple reminded me of the journey. Our kids are both now adults. And I can say each understands the value of treating others with respect.
And the lessons must have taken root as my daughter once stood next to the car door while on a date and told the former boyfriend “this door isn’t going to open itself.”