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Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

  • Lisa Lou

Does God Care About Manners?




Having good manners is common sense. Learning to communicate those manners according to the rules of the road is what is known as etiquette. Put another way: etiquette is the language of manners.

Etiquette and social skills are more than knowing which fork to use at dinner. It is understanding the words to speak and when to remain silent. It is the comprehension that what our image says on the outside reveals who we are on the inside. It is grasping that we should treat others like we wish to be treated.

Do we enjoy receiving gifts? Then we should also know when to give gifts. Do we feel loved when someone sends us a handwritten note? Then we should also know when a handwritten note might be warranted. Do we like seeing someone talk with food in their mouth? Then maybe we should also close our mouth when eating.

Manners and social skills allow us to function smoothly within the world. When driving on the road, there are certain rules we all follow. We do this to avoid unnecessary collisions that can lead to pain and disappointment.

But what does God have to say about good manners?

  1. Put others first; show interest in others: Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10; Matthew 22:39; Matthew 19:19

  2. Practice hospitality: 1 Peter 4:9; Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2

  3. Be thankful and gracious in all you do: Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 3 John 14; Ephesians 5:20

  4. Be respectful to others and do not brag; always exercise restraint: Titus 1:8; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

  5. Always think before you speak and imagine how your words affect those around you: Proverbs 15:23; 12:25; 25:11; James 1:19

  6. Treat others better than you treat yourself; always be humble; we are all equal in God’s eyes, so act like it: Philippians 2:3; Romans 2:11

  7. People with good manners display great giving with their time, money, and talents: Acts 20:35

  8. Do not be self-centered: Philippians 2:4

  9. Be kind and do not show contempt for others: 1 Corinthians 13:4

  10. Practice the Golden Rule: Luke 10:27

  11. Do not be selfish, rude or a complainer: 1 Corinthians 13:5-7; Philippians 2:14

  12. Lift others up with your words: Ephesians 4:29

  13. Be slow to anger and exhibit self-control: Proverbs 16:32; Psalm 37:8

  14. Keep your words simple and say what you mean: Matthew 5:37

  15. Do what you say: Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

  16. Fulfill your promises quickly: Deuteronomy 23:21

  17. Show discretion: Proverbs 11:22

  18. Respect your elders and serve others: 1 Peter 5:5; Leviticus 19:32

  19. Show good manners when in the company of those that do not believe like you do: 1 Corinthians 10:27

  20. To round out my top 20 list, how about adding the 10 Commandments! These are full of commands on how we behave, thus, how we display our manners and practice etiquette.

(Above verses have been paraphrased.)

The rules of etiquette may have changed throughout history, but manners have not. Why? Because manners represent the condition of our heart. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “If ever you find yourself in a situation in which following a formal rule would be manifestly unkind, forget it, and be kind instead.”

A favorite story that exemplifies this statement occurred when Queen Elizabeth II was hosting a dinner on her yacht in the South Pacific. The party was in honor of a local prince. During dessert the prince thought his finger bowl was his dessert bowl and proceeded to fill it with fruit, cream, and sugar. (Finger bowls are filled with water and lemon to clean your hands at the end of a meal.) The prince picked up his bowl to take a sip, suddenly realizing his mistake. Without hesitation, Queen Elizabeth picked up her finger bowl and took a sip, saving the prince from embarrassment. The Queen might have committed an “etiquette” faux pas, but the good “manners” she displayed were exemplary. (Story told by Paul Burrell: former Royal Butler to Queen Elizabeth.)

Cindy Grosso, owner of The Charleston School of Protocol, says, “Manners are not about rules. Never about rules. It has always been about being confident. Being able to handle yourself in all situations.” Understanding the language of manners (social skills and etiquette) is important to building the confidence needed to function successfully in the world around us.

If you are a mom with children in the home, I would challenge you to begin practicing simple social skill techniques. Why? For the simple reason of developing confidence in your children. When a student studies well for a test, they can say to themselves, “I’ve got this,” when stepping into the classroom. When an athlete trains diligently for a competition, he/she feels ready to meet the challenge when stepping onto the field. When we train and prepare our families to “speak” the language of manners, we give them a self-assuredness that they can navigate any social road they will inevitably find themselves on.

Our goal is not to burden our families with a bunch of rules, but to teach them how to think for themselves in each unique situation. We want to instill good manners, because as we have learned, manners are tied directly to the condition of our hearts. If we are pure and kind on the inside, we might still pick up the wrong fork at dinner, but the love that spills forth from our souls is what people will remember.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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