I read a great article, 17 Things People Who Were Raised Right Always Do. I thought what a great activity for our students. I’ve rewritten it by making it specific to each student in terms of “You do. . . . .” It gives each student an opportunity to determine if they meet the criteria. If they do, great. If they don’t, they have an opportunity to set specific goals for improvement. At the bottom of the page, I’ve included a story of a young man who demonstrated several of the 17 things (People Who Were Raised Right Always Do) and how it was the determining factor in being admitted to his college of choice.
“You’ve encountered all types of people with varying degrees of manners or meanness, and you know it’s got a lot to do with upbringing. Here’s a list of signs of a person who was brought up well.” Read each Criterion. *1 If you meet the criteria, put a check mark next to the description.
Has Basic Manners
Some basics: speaking when entering a room, allowing people to exit the elevator before walking in, and chewing with your mouth closed. Please, thank you, hello, good morning, and excuse me come as second nature no matter the setting.
Honors Their Word
Reliable to a fault, you keep your word and do what you say you are going to do. If for some unexpected reason you can’t, your politeness and integrity will make things right.
Pitches in Without Being Asked
You don’t wait for a prompt when the table needs to be cleared and dishes done? When there’s a project that needs to be tackled, you’re on it, even if it’s not “your job”.
Shuns Glory or Reward
This means you do things because it’s the right thing, not because you want a pat on the back or someone is looking in your direction.
Open Doors and Offers a Seat
You open and hold the door for women, babies, disabled individuals, or the elderly, it’s just common courtesy. You also give up a seat on a bus, train, or a crowded setting where it’s standing room only.
You address adults as “Ma’am” or “Sir”. You also, open doors, watch your language, and chit-chat with kindness.
Accepts Responsibility and Says Sorry
You apologize when you make mistakes. You apologize for those actions without blaming, getting defensive, or inserting a “but”.
You make sure no one feels left out. You engage and interact with others, especially in a group setting, leaving no one awkwardly out of a conversation or event.
Waits Their Turn
You do not cut the line or get impatient because something is “taking too long. You have no problem waiting until it’s your turn.
Values the Time of Others
Because you respect others people’s time, you show up on time. On time is ten minutes early.
Cleans Up Their Own Messes
You are neat and orderly. Your room, your car, your workplace is neat, clean and orderly. You don’t leave a cluttered mess.
Respects Others’ Personal Space and Property
You know that touching or taking what doesn’t belong to you without permission is a no-no, and you don’t cross that line.
Sends Thank You Notes
You write thank-you letters (not emails) when someone does something for you.
Shows Regard for Feelings of Others
You are nice to mail carriers, janitors, waitresses, sales people as well as family or friends. You are considerate, kind and patient with others.
Is Not Judgmental
You accept people for who they are. You understand we are all different with different paths and you are willing to celebrate/accept differences. You do not gossip or put others down.
You are a Welcoming Person
You are a warm person who tries to put people at ease and make them feel comfortable.
You listen to your parents.
You know your parents expectation and you meet them. You listen to your parents; you do not talk back, or talk with a disrespectful tone/attitude. If you disagree with your parents you talk it out.
I’ve included a section from the article Check this box if you’re a good person. The goal is, our students will be inspired.
The most surprising indication of kindness I’ve ever come across in my admissions career came from a student who went to a large public school in New England. He was clearly bright, as evidenced by his class rank and teachers’ praise. He had a supportive recommendation from his college counselor and an impressive list of extra-curricular activities. Even with these qualifications, he might not have stood out. But one letter of recommendation caught my eye. It was from a school custodian.
Letters of recommendation are typically superfluous, written by people who the applicant thinks will impress a school. We regularly receive letters from former presidents, celebrities, trustee relatives and Olympic athletes. But they generally fail to provide us with another angle on who the student is, or could be as a member of our community.
This letter was different.
The custodian wrote that he was compelled to support this student’s candidacy because of his thoughtfulness. This young man was the only person in the school who knew the names of every member of the janitorial staff. He turned off lights in empty rooms, consistently thanked the hallway monitor each morning and tidied up after his peers even if nobody was watching. This student, the custodian wrote, had a refreshing respect for every person at the school, regardless of position, popularity or clout.
Over 15 years and 30,000 applications in my admissions career, I had never seen a recommendation from a school custodian. It gave us a window onto a student’s life in the moments when nothing “counted.” That student was admitted by unanimous vote of the admissions committee.
- Have the students write down which of the 17 things the custodian described in his recommendation. These are the qualities I counted:
Pitches in without being asked
Shuns glory or reward
Shows regard for feelings of others
Is not judgmental
Is a welcoming person
2. We don’t like to be judged, but we do like to judge others. People notice what you do and they make judgements. This custodian observed this young man for x number of years. He knew him well. He wrote a letter of support. His letter was the very reason this young man was accepted to a college because, “It gave us a window onto a student’s life in the moments when nothing “counted.”
If a custodian observed you for number of years, what would a letter written by him say about you?