The Importance of Manners in Society
I Couldn't Say it Better
Basic Easy "Rules"
Manners Cost Nothing but Reap Great Rewards
Manners are an Important Part of the Foundation of Society
When I was trying to think of a topic to base my 25th article on, I thought of all the interests and passions I have. My answer came to me during a class I volunteer/teach topics for adults trying to acquire their GED. The simple statement of how important manners and etiquette would be and will be when they, the students, start interviewing for jobs utilizing their newly acquired GED took up the entire class. I was amazed how many of my students disagreed. I was "not so mildly shocked" in how many students questioned this. This got me to think of how I have seen "lack of manners" change drastically in my 30+ years of life.
I often think back to the day my father gave me positive reinforcement that would solidify my usage of good manners my entire life. I was 7 years old and I remember it 26 years later like it happened yesterday. It was a Saturday morning. We lived on a farm which had 6,000 chickens along with other livestock. We had just returned from a delivery of eggs and dressed chickens when my father turned into our long driveway. He stopped the car once he was off the road and turned to me. Without missing a beat, he put his arm around me and said how proud he and my mother were after their latest parent/teacher meeting. He said my grade school teacher, Mrs. Kirkland had told my parents that I was the best mannered student she ever had in her 30-40 + years of teaching. He said he felt the "manner report" was as important as my all A's grades. Then he swept me up and placed me on his lap and let me steer the car up the driveway. The excitement of driving the car and making my parents proud is a feeling I will never forget and ingrained into my very being to always use manners and be respectful of others. What a simple but ever so effective teaching tool.
The list of manners that I feel are important for a civilized world is long. I will touch on those that I feel are basic. Always remember: manners/social skills cost nothing to learn or teach but when they are incorporated into ones life, the rewards are invaluable and make the tapestry of life so much richer and beautiful.
A simple thank you should be so ingrained in ones psyche that it should leave the mouth almost without thinking. Remember, when one does something to help someone, a simple thank you not only shows gratitude to the person who showed kindness but helps cultivate that person to continue to do kindnesses. I'm sorry ladies, but I get so irritated when I hold a door open for a female- or even a male- and not only is there no thank you but sometimes I get an angry look. If you don't want someone to hold a door open for you, then don't pass through. Someone with their hands full and drops something. No one is required to pick it up for that person. When someone does, a smile and a thank you should be given. A phone call received from someone to see how they are doing should merit a thank you. On and on and on and on as the list of examples is endless.
Saying "you're welcome" is a nice way to acknowledge someone who said thank you which encourages the person who did the kindness to continue doing kindnesses. A smile or a nod of the head to the person who said thank you will suffice instead of the words.
In this hustle bustle life, running into people, smacking someone with their grocery cart, "accidently" jutting ahead of someone in line, burping in public, leaving a dining table to run an errand, accidently allowing a door to close on someone's face, and many etc. should always be followed by an excuse me. This to me is as important as thank you. I think having empathy and putting oneself in the "victim's shoes" will help reinforce using these two words.
CELL PHONE USE
One could write an entire book on this but I just wanted to hit on a few that bother me. When one is in public, be it on a bus, waiting room, etc. , talk in a low voice. No one wants to hear about how you hate someone, your sexual exploits, complaints, fighting with whoever you are talking to, etc. That, to me, is just common sense. The icing on the cake is when the person has to yell out four letter words as if they are reciting a nursery rhyme.
Do not have your face in your cell phone walking down the sidewalk oblivious to everyone else
on the sidewalk. The world does not orbit around any one single person. Sidewalks are to be shared. That means not expecting everyone else to get out of your way.
This one is pretty simple. Again, sidewalks are meant to be shared. One basically walks the same way one drives a car. Stay to the right and pass to the left, opposing "traffic" allowing. When walking in groups of two or more, the larger group need to compromise when opposing pedestrians are coming towards them by breaking formation and allowing the opposing pedestrian traffic to pass. Keeping one's face out of one's smartphone and being aware who and what is around them is self-explanatory. To expect one to move because what one is looking at on their screen is more important is beyond ignorance.
Basic Table Manners
Good social graces- manners- are a topic close to my heart. When I was younger, it was something I took for granted. It seemed most people understood and utilized common sense courtesy. There were always some people who lacked those skills but it seems in the last decade, that group of people has grown exponentially. I have always followed the basic rule that it is better to focus on the we and not the me. Showing courtesy and respect for others takes so little effort and time but it reaps great awards. I will either amend this article to add more topics or write entire articles on other aspects of manners. A good rule of thumb as I alluded to earlier is to put yourself in the other person's shoes. If you have been lacking in manners, maybe with practice, they will emerge again on their own. Thank you!
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