Monday Manners.


{Edited to add, Part two:  I'm realizing, after reading the "Manners" post over again, it may seem I am less than gracious, in the area of manners and since I am unable to sit down with each of you and have a real conversation, it could come across a bit rigid.  I'd point to what Rachel Winn said, in the comments. We want to have grace and know that when life does happen, grace will be extended. We must take care of ourselves and grace first, to others.  I agree.  I don't sit, with a watch, at each gathering {promise!}.  The angst I feel is mostly at repetitive behavior or with the current state of manners, in our casual culture.  I'm not a mean ol' stickler....just a manner loving lady. Who, by the way, makes plenty of mistakes, herself.


****


Happy Monday, everyone!
I hope your weekend was as nice as mine.
I feel like I could write short stories about this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday but then it might get introspective, around here, and I think Mondays are for light reading, right?

All that to say, the Lord teaches us in so many shades and colors. Good ways and hard ways and in the places we least expect.  Each way is crafted and perfect....always colorful and never predictable. 
Maybe soon I'll write about some of those things I learned.  Maybe not.  And maybe never.
Who knows.

***

So, let's talk about something I've been thinking about {and have been, for awhile}.

Manners.



My friend, April, bought me Emily Posts latest edition of ETIQUETTE, {April gets me!} and I've been skimming through it.
I'll let you in on a secret of mine.
Tardiness is my pet peeves.  It always has been.
I am never late and if I am, I feel extreme guilt.  Not just because it's very rude, but because everyone's time is important and mine is no more important than the person I am meeting.  When I have a date with someone and they are 20 minutes late, I always wonder {as much as my adult and mature-self try to shut it down}, "Did they even want to get together with me?  It seems they are having to do a lot of squeezing of their schedule to fit me in".
And I think that is what punctuality {or lack thereof} can signal to someone.
Being on time tells the person you are meeting, they are important.  They are your priority for the day and you value that they have things to do too.
It's a sign of class, in my opinion, but maybe few see it that way because I feel like fashionably late is the new thing?  Often, I am the first person at some place and end up waiting for quite awhile.
Of course, emergencies come up and unavoidable traffic will hurdle itself into your weekly schedule.
But you know what I mean.
{I'm speaking in general terms and more concentrating on tardiness as a habitual occurrence}


Then I began thinking about other manners and while I was skimming the book I realized MOST of the manners {and this was a 2011 edition} aren't adhered to, in our current and daily society.
Basic ones like thank you notes for gifts.  RSVP's for an event.  Hostess gifts. Calling someone back. Texting or emailing important information, rather then face to face correspondence. Punctuality to an event. How to correspond during an argument. How to sit at the table and use your napkin, fork and flatware.  How to graciously thank a host or react to a tragic event.  Dressing respectfully {and teaching our children the virtues of this}. Gossip and hurtful words, in group settings.

I'm asking these questions for the sake of discussion and not argument {promise!},
"Are we done with manners, on a whole?"
"Is it ok to adhere to only some and not others?"
"Which are the most important to teach our children?"

I wonder because I don't see an abundance of manners, in our society.
Like mostly none, especially from the youth of America {teenagers, mainly}.

Men walk right past me and don't think to hold the door {I blame their fathers!}.  Recently, I had a child ask me, "What the heck are you talking about?". Kids walk around with cell phones pasted to their heads and don't think to look up when they are crossing the street, let alone engage in conversation with anyone else and highschoolers dart in front of my car, with their bikes and then give me a look like, "Ha.  Old lady! I'm 15 and I can be a punk if I want". Adults sit at a meal, with other adults and type on their phone {guilty} and full tables of families, at a restaurant, don't say a word because they are all Face-Timing with someone else. People wear ball caps in church.  Kids don't say please and thank you and disrespect their parents. People request you bring specific gifts to a party or no gift at all. People ask for money, straight out, at times. Children don't speak when asked a question. Inexcusable language and behavior, from teens, on television.
 I'm hosting a shower this upcoming weekend and I had someone contact me to ask me what I was cooking {and it wasn't because of a dietary restriction}!  WHAT?!

Am I living in crazytown?

It's all a bit disheartening because we are less civilized, I think {yes, I use that word quite a bit, don't I?}.  My friends and I talk about it, often, but sometimes I wonder if the whole idea of "manners" is antiquated and I'm just too old-fashioned {It's ok. You can tell me}.  Maybe so, but I see its virtue.  My girlfriends do too.  They want their children to find virtue in being polite, courteous and gracious.  I like that.
I enjoy that the ladies know something is wrong, if my car isn't parked in front of their house, at the exact moment a event is supposed to begin.  They know that I value them, their time and the fact that they are going out of their way to host something.  I like them to feel respected.  And I like that they can count on me.
I know what some of you will say. "That doesn't leave much room for grace".
I just don't see it that way.
Where would the grace be if a schoolteacher was 15 minutes late, each day?  Or if banks, grocery stores or our beloved Starbucks didn't open on time, MOST of the time.  Would we extend grace then?

I guess manners make me feel like I'm giving my best, my kids best, my families best, to others.
But, I would love to know what you think and how you handle manners, in your house.

{Oh and you'll laugh at this.  My friend Shanna and I used to tease that we were going to open a MANNERS SOCIETY for little girls and boys.  So they could learn, from the very beginning. I still like this idea.  Way better than sending your children to Gymboree class, right?} 

{Edited to add: I would also be curious about your views on manners, as it pertains to social media.  What do we share and not share?  Is it gracious to advertise who we are hanging out with, when others are not invited?  Are we responsible to think about the audience that we have grown, when broadcasting our relationships with others?  When sharing opinions and thoughts?} 


Do share.

19 comments:

  1. A simple answer - YES.

    Manners are Biblical.

    "Consider others more important than yourself."

    MORE important - not equally.

    Which means every manner we learned in Kindergarten still applies regardless of culture, social media, or the gadgets we use. When phones were invented, housewives had to find the balance of chit chatting with friends and getting the chores done, not using it for gossip and whining.

    "There is nothing new under the sun."

    Selfishness and disregard for one another has been around since Adam and Eve were dismissed from the garden. This is why Jesus said the first commandment is to love the LORD with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength - and the second - Love Your Neighbor AS YOURSELF.

    No confusion on this topic.

    It is Biblical.

    Teach your kids - and teach them well!!!!!

    You will never EVER be sorry.



    ReplyDelete
  2. “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” Fred Astaire

    which i can quote quickly b/c this has been on my "list" lately - no, practicing manners is Always on my list.

    and to that final question, yes. i think we should practice manners (=respect) when voicing our thoughts/opinions. it prickles my back hairs that so many folks these days go so wiiiidddee open with their opinions and defend their behavior as simply the right to free speech. "and if you don't like it, don't read it," they say.

    i have too many thoughts sometimes and i regularly say things the wrong way, but i pray i never leave anybody with such a sentiment. it's hardly gracious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have that same prayer. Mostly because I have offended in the past {who hasn't?} and I know that it makes the recipient feel horrible, no matter who is in the wrong. I don't want that to be the lasting memory, rather graciousness.
      Good thought, Amanda!

      Delete
  3. Being from CA, I often feel so uncouth around others from the East Coast or the South. They have manners DOWN!

    With that said, I feel pretty strongly about living an elegant life. Hostess gifts are something I enjoy providing, but never expect. Sending thank you notes is not something I was taught, but something I find extremely gratifying as the recipient of a gift or favor done. Like you, being late gives me the hives (because I was raised by someone who was ALWAYS ALWAYS running behind).

    But I have to remind myself that these are my hangups...and that I likely inadvertently offend others with the little things I do, too.

    PS - I had some friends over for dinner a couple of months ago and the DAY OF, one gal called me to tell me they'd decided to become vegetarians and could I please keep that in mind when I was preparing the meal. THE DAY OF...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also feel like you do, JJ. An elegant life is a choice and a fun one! Refinement is an exciting thing to practice, isn't it? It sets one apart, I think.

      And yes. There is a difference between hangups and manners and I have to remind myself that just because I practice good manners doesn't mean that someone HAS to and it's not my job to be the manners police.

      PS-that is RIDICULOUS and I would have thrown manners out the window and TOLD THEM SO. Come on.

      Delete
  4. oh I so agree with this. manners have gone out the window in a lot of cases. i think there should be a healthy balance of manners and extending grace. you're right if Starbucks didn't open on time we'd throw a fit but most people don't think twice about being late. i hate being late, and like you I don't want to waste anyone's time or make them think they aren't valuable.

    time to turn the culture don't you think? that's why maybe I'm so all about this w/ my own family. please and thank you, teaching my kids to be mindful of their manners and behavior. making sure we're on time always even if people aren't. I think it shows your host deep down that their event is important, I think they feel that even though they may never say thank you for showing up on time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your thought:
      "I think there should be a healthy balance of manners and extending grace".

      Yes.

      Delete
  5. I scanned the other commenters before I began so forgive any duplicate words or phrases.

    I have thought about this subject. There is a Cotillion {etiquette} class here in Brea for middle schoolers (I think) and it thrilled me so much to be told about it! I hope to enroll the kids as part of their homeschool experience because I find great value in raising them to know how to interact with the world outside of book learning.

    I find that California is very lax on many subjects, manners being just one of them. You don’t have to go too far East for things to change, and I find this very interesting and frustrating sometimes. When we lived outside D.C., it was amazing to see all the officers wives and their china sets laid out for our Church's biannual teas parties with every propper item imaginable. And so fun too! Not so much the case in Kansas and I don't know a single friend here who owns a china set period. {not that this matters, mind you, but the need for them clearly dwindled as I crossed the country...}

    Where I fall on the manners issue myself is that I should hold myself alone {well, kids too} to a manners standard and extend grace to everyone else. My husband didn’t grow up writing thank you notes and I stopped a few years ago insisting he write them. It’s not my place!! As for the teacher example, she is an employee and would receive repercussions for her actions because she is being paid for performance. Same with business operations…there is financial incentive there. Many parents do not understand or find the incentive to teach manners because honestly, things have changed. The Western Hemisphere is very much "me centered," not others centered. What does one do about that as a whole?

    I honestly don’t have answers to all the questions I ask myself. But there is incredible, eternal value in teaching {through manners} respect, courtesy, honor, servant leadership and above all LOVE to our children. Let it be love and love alone that drives me to instill these behaviors into my kids, lest I become proud and self-righteous that my family is better than anyone else. I think this is where I land most times I get to thinking about the subject. What a great conversation!!

    ps. I want to take that etiquette course with my kids!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love all of your thoughts, Rachel.
      I think you are right that it is good for us to hold ourselves to a standard and hand out grace {unless their lack of manners are infringing on us in a harmful way}.
      I understand the argument about the teacher being paid, but I don't know if compensation should be the reason that someone values others time. Just because a mother has 4 kids doesn't make her less accountable for her lack of respect for another persons time {when she is late over and over again}. It just allows for no repercussion {my opinion}.

      And sign my whole family up for that class! Sounds GREAT!

      Delete
    2. and then I realized that you have 4 kids and could think I'm referencing you. Which I'm clearly not. Because you're on time! ;)

      Delete
  6. Oh my goodness, YES! I find it extremely disheartening the lack of manners in our society today. And it's not just the kids. The manners of the adults are in question a lot more these days, too.
    My husband and I are trying desperately to teach out children how to treat others. To be polite, for the boys to be gentlemen, and our daughter to be a lady. And it is hard. Very hard. Especially with the world fighting against you.
    I wish I knew the secret of how to instill this into the little minds and make sure it sticks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a way to instill it-you're doing it!
      Great work Verna!

      Delete
  7. Tardiness is a major pet peeve of mine as well! B grew up in a home where his parents were always late so he doesn't like lateness either! I admit, I'm bad with sending thank you notes in a timely manner...but I'm working on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I have a lot of things I'm working on too, in terms of manners, so we will work together! No one is perfect and it's a process, right? :)

      Delete
  8. I think manners is like crocheting..a lost art! An ART! It was an art for men to hold the door for women..for little children to sit quietly while adults talk..etc.

    I teach my four year old daughter manners...sometimes I get that I am to strict on her and just down right mean..and then sometimes I get "my child will NOT act like that ..how do you do it?"

    I expect nothing less from my daughter than to say Please, Thank You, Ma'am and Sir...when she doesn't know someone personally ..she is to say Ms. or Mr. ______
    I can carry on an adult conversation in front of my child...I can sit at a resteraunt and have a nice meal...with my child...I can listen and praise God in church...with my child.

    I believe that the lack of manners is not only hurting our society but causing major stress and depression upon parents...because they feel like failures..and I'm going to boldly say..they are.
    Not at parenting or loving thier children...but in teaching their children how to act in society like a human being and not an animal.

    Whew..sorry...that was a little intense.. Manners is a touchy subject for me. I have told my sister in law that my daughter will not act like or run around the church with her son because she is not allowed to and I believe that has made a distance in our family

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  10. As someone with extensive "dietary restrictions" of my own....(don't why we treat them like death sentences)....I have always been quite disturbed when others are put out by not being able to eat at an event. To them I would like to say: Get it together and pack a protein bar.

    ReplyDelete
  11. luv the post. it's true, manners seem to be gone these days. we as a family ( of 7) are early wherever we go. we make it a priority to be at our destination on time. it does show others that u don't care if ur late for a visit with them. I can't tell u how many times we have waited, and waited for guests to arrive at our home for a visit. it's our job to break the cycle, by teaching our children the correct way to love and treat others.
    don't forget about thank you notes too. folks aren't writing those either:)

    ReplyDelete