Mind Your Manners

Originally Written for Feed Your Spirit

Encouragement from Lindner Center Spiritual Care Team

Mind Your Manners

By Valerie LK Martin, MDiv, Spiritual Care Team

Over the weekend, I was given a very rude gesture while navigating a round-about. The gentleman was in the wrong lane…I suppose that was my fault.

I have decided based on a seeming increase of such interactions and some news stories as of late, that society has either forgotten or maybe just quit caring about manners. And I find it surprising after a year of “we are all in this together” that so many still are not minding their manners much. Emily Post* would be appalled!

This week is National Etiquette Week. My weekend encounter was quite timely! While there is a national week, day or month for a great many and sometimes odd things (National Odd Sock Memorial Day), there are some, like Mental Health Month, that serve as reminders of important issues and topics. They give us opportunity to share needed messages. I am thinking that etiquette might be a good one to pay more attention to.

While etiquette and manners are slightly different (see below), they are part of our social fabric. They help us come together, can keep order, and show us how to navigate in current society. Though the specific nature of etiquette changes as the world changes and from culture to culture, its basic premise is, at least for me, a deeper one: to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Maybe we are simply not teaching manners to the degree we once did. Who remembers this oldie but goodie?

Mable, Mable, strong and able

Get your elbows off the table.

This is not a horse’s stable

But a first-class dining table.

Or these enduring messages?

Leave a place better than you found it or clean up your own mess.

Elders go first.

Wait to start your meal until all are served.

Always use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

I am not saying we all need to take an etiquette course and learn how to be polite. However, I would love to see a bit more civility and a lot more grace. Respect goes a long way to making a better ‘us.’

*Emily Post (née Price; c. October 27, 1872 – September 25, 1960) was an American author, novelist, and socialite, famous for writing about etiquette. Her book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Homewas published in 1922. It is currently on its 19th Edition. Learn more at The Emily Post Institute: Etiquette Advice & Training — Emily Post

Etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

Manners: social behavior or habits.

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Valerie LK Martin

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