Amazing Kids! Magazine

On Opening Doors for Others

By Fatima Yousuf, Money Smarts Editor and Contributing Writer


I used to hate opening doors for others. Whenever I did so, people would leave without saying a word of thanks to me. “How dare they?” my young self would think in disbelief. “I just performed a great service for them, and they leave without saying a word!” Over time, however, I have come to greatly appreciate the service of opening doors. There is a quiet humility and dignity to the act, one that I have grown to love and respect.

Over my years of opening doors, I have noticed that the door-opener will usually go through several stages as he or she learns what it means to open doors for others. At first, door-openers will feel stages of anger when they realize that many leave the room without any simple expression of gratitude. They usually feel that they should never have opened the door in the first place, letting the other person open the door for himself or herself.

However, as the door-openers progress, they tend to lose their feelings of anger, and door-opening becomes more of an instinct. They are not sure why they open doors, but they do it regardless. Door-opening becomes an inclination, really. They understand that there is something honorable about opening doors but fail to comprehend what it is. They feel that they should open doors for others but cannot understand why they feel that way.

Most door-openers are stuck in this stage. They live their lives opening doors without knowing why they truly do it. It truly and simply becomes an instinct. When asked why they open doors for others, these door-openers will typically reply with something along the lines of, “I don’t know. It just feels like a nice thing to do.”

However, as the door-openers continue with their work, they begin to feel a sense of why opening doors for others is honorable. They begin to feel the dignity of putting aside time for the pure benefit of others. While a simple act, door-opening nevertheless becomes a way to show thanks and humility towards others. They begin to lose their expectations of receiving gratitude from others and instead use door-opening as a way to show their own gratitude to others.

I take from door-opening several lessons on one’s attitude towards life. The first is that one must learn humility. Humility is an expression of personal inadequacy. It is a recognition that no one is perfect, nor does anyone have all the answers in life. Through humility, one learns to see others not as simply strangers but as brothers-in-arms, fighting alongside him or her through the uphill battle of life. And through humility, one begins to feel the deep sense of camaraderie and kindness that arises in performing simple acts for one another, such as holding open the door.

The second lesson is one of kindness. Opening doors, to me, is a simple version of the Golden Rule. If all people do little things for others that they would like to have done for them, it ultimately makes everyone’s life a little better. And these little things add up over time. An action performed simply for the benefit of someone else is one of the purest things one can do.

My anger at people who don’t thank me for my acts of kindness has been largely sated. I no longer expect something in return for my services. The knowledge that I did something kind for others has far outweighed the expectation of gratitude for my actions. I hope that everyone eventually reaches a point in life at which kindness is performed not for the sake of receiving something in return but, rather, with the pure and simple intention of showing kindness towards others.