On The Bricks

October 27, 2020

          Rotarians polled their many members on what qualities they considered important in leadership. It is an interesting list and one that we could use until the day we died on ways to improve ourselves. They listed:

  • The ability to listen (and willingness to do so),
  • Understanding,
  • Good communication skills,
  • Transparency,
  • Consistency,
  • Authenticity,
  • Skills in empowering others,
  • Embrace of diversity,
  • High ethical standards,
  • Organizational skills,
  • Inclusiveness,
  • Selflessness,
  • Team development skills,
  • Enthusiasm,
  • Public speaking skills,
  • Confidence,
  • Fairness and firmness,
  • Honesty,
  • Attainable goal setting,
  • Motivational skills, and
  • An ability to inspire.

Those qualities are a description of the perfect boss. And the perfect employee. And the perfect spouse. And the perfect friend. They are qualities we should strive to have as a part of our personality.

          Another article in the same Rotarian magazine was written by Sheila Armstrong who said, “Bad manners can have real consequences. Etiquette is really being thoughtful about yourself and others.”

          She went on to explain how one person’s bad manners had a terrible consequence for her. “My father called to tell me that my mother was not feeling well. I lived in Austin, Texas, 100 miles away. I wanted to drive safely, but quickly. On a narrow two – lane road, a driver with road rage refused to let me pass for 30 minutes. When I finally reached my parents’ door, Daddy opened it up and said, ‘Sheila, darling, I am sorry, your mother died five minutes ago.’”

          To be a decent person, we need to be mature and realistic, knowing that what we do and say can have consequences for others. We should add “good manners” to the list.

          We need to not only aspire to be a better person, we need to try to teach our children these qualities, too. There are some other things we should teach them like how to write a letter, how to speak well on the phone, how to talk to an elder, how to sew on a button, how to genuinely apologize, how to hammer a nail, how to introduce yourself, how to notice the needs of others, how to scramble an egg, how to balance a checkbook, how to do laundry, how to fix something, how to plan a healthy meal, how to budget, how to ask questions to get to know someone better, how to read a map, how to wait and save for something, how to seek counsel from someone more experienced, how to select a thoughtful gift, how to admit a mistake, how to give someone the benefit of the doubt, how to dust, how to have good table manners, how to read a recipe, how to make a salad, how to clean the refrigerator, how to address and stamp an envelope, how to refill a stapler, and how to change a flat tire. Lot’s to keep parents and mentors busy teaching here!

          We have some Aggie Families as part of our Main Street program that are a family for an OPSU Aggie who is here, a long way from home. These might be some of the things our Aggie moms and dads have a chance to share. That’s fun. That’s good. Would you like to be an Aggie Family? If you want to know more about being a family for a student attending OPSU who is a long ways from their family, email Melyn at

          See you on the bricks!