I teach English in Japan. This morning I was walking to my Nishinomiya, Kotoen English school franchise. I do this same walk five times per week on the days that I teach. The other days I enjoy my time with my wife or occupy myself with hobbies, but that’s another story.
As I walked along I noticed a little girl, maybe seven or eight years old taking an interest in me. An adult woman, I guess her mother, was standing beside her and so I stopped. I said, “What’s your name?” My reward was a huge smile and then the girl looked up to her mother for permission, received a nod of approval and turned to look me straight in the eye. “My name is Mami Saito.” she beamed.
You know, I’ve been teaching English in Japan since 1996. I never get tired of these moments. The administration team who manage our English school franchise system suggests that such encounters are not only good fun but also good marketing. Perhaps this is so but to me, it is polite to stop to chat with a little girl who has noticed me as a possible chance to use her English. What’s more it gives me great pleasure when I receive such a warming response.
If courtesy helps me earn an income, I am all for it. Now, when I walk to my English school franchise, I make it a point to always be nice to people, regardless of the issues on my mind. Even when others are busy with the matters of their working day, a positive attitude pays far-reaching dividends. When you meet that same person in your neithborhood at a point in the future, he or she will remember you and a valuable relationship can form. I’m looking for that nice encounter on my way.
Martin Werner Zander
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