"Consideration is the heart of all good manners, and a courteous manner is a grace that every young person should acquire. Sympathy, sensitivity, and tact make you a desirable companion at home, in school, and at work. Conveying your support through a sympathetic smile or a friendly touch can help a friend through a bad time. Tactful behavior springs from the heart, from the desire to put others at ease and make them comfortable, even in awkward or difficult situations.
"Some people proudly claim that they do not wish to be tactful because tact is not 'honest.' They do not realize that their 'honesty' can often be cruel; you can wound others with tactless or insensitive remarks, making the world more difficult for them and for yourself.
"There is more kindness in the world than you may believe. What passes for a lack of sympathy can simply be a lack of imagination or a lack of self-confidence; perhaps you hesitate to intrude upon another's joy or sorrow. Fearing the hurt of rejection, you may cloud another's joy by seeming indifferent, or leave another's sorrow uncomforted because you fear your own feelings.
"If you are slow of speech or shy, remember that a sympathetic manner, a smile, a mere friendly touch can help smooth the rough edges of life. If you let the right moment pass today, or if you recognize the hurt you have caused only after the fact, you can still learn from your mistakes.
"When we become aware of our own shortcomings, we can more readily understand and forgive the faults of others. Despite our many differences, every one of us shares the same humanity with its strengths and its weaknesses.
" 'Instill your love into all the world, for a good character is what is remembered,' wrote a king of Heracleopis to his son and successor, Merikare, c 2135-2040 B.C."
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