Saturday, March 24, 2012

Manners, Etiquette, Graciousness, Self-Respect

While I have several new blog entries begun, this one stood out as needing to be shared. Perhaps I am only looking to rant, but I will at least attempt to do it with some degree of decorum and good sense. This evening I posted a link to an article on the death of good manners, the demise of simple, but meaningful pleasantries, perhaps the indifferent murder of behaviours that do no harm, but can do all the good in the world by showcasing the Good that exists in the world.

I do not live in a cave or hide myself from the world. I am out in it every day, interacting with countless people from countless walks of life, and the one thing I have noticed consistently, is the quiet complacency with which people observe and make note of the disappearance of "Please" and "Thank you", how they make excuses for others who treat them as non-beings, and how their own usually-polite demeanor erodes to the same bland, characterless, robotic facade as those they complain about in whispers, so as not to offend. Now am I the only one who sees the irony in that? Mind you, I understand perfectly why one should never engage a rude fool in a debate over manners. It is a lost cause.

So I have a request, or perhaps one might call it a challenge. Peer pressure is not exclusive to teens. It is a factor in every day life.  Humans mimic. We emulate the behaviour of those around us in an effort to "fit in" with the herd. My challenge is this: Be the lead sheep. Regardless of the behaviour of others, be polite.  When ordering your morning coffee, as everyone in line ahead of you barks their order then stands waiting impatiently, checking the time on their smartphones, step up and end your order with "please", look the clerk/barista in the eye, smile, nod and smile to someone in the crowd then wait patiently (OUT OF THE WAY OF OTHER PATRONS), and then when your order is ready, say "thank you" and perhaps leave a tip. No matter where you find yourself interacting with others, take a short moment to acknowledge the human being in front of you, and you honour the human being within you. Take another short moment to observe, and nine times out of ten you will see others behave with at least a sliver of grace. 

And for all those afraid of destroying their "rep" as being less-than-nice, do not confuse polite with being nice. Being polite conveys one thing: An individual rife with self-respect, whose confidence and humility are sincere and well-earned, who is not led by the nose and will not allow themselves to be dragged down to the level of others.

In an age of F-bomb dropping, purposely horrid spelling and grammar and crass behaviour in shabby attempts to be one of the "in"crowd, stand apart, set an example and you may be pleasantly surprised. I know I am on a fairly regular basis, and guaranteed, I am NO Pollyanna. 

Perhaps I should create a badge or ribbon for the Gracious Ones, so we might recognize one another in crowds, but then we do have other means, do we not? The tell-tale upright posture, the nod to others in passing, a smile while all around them are scowling, an arm extended to open a door to another without a second's thought, a slight head bow and/or handshake in greeting and the smile of recognition when they see you.

Thank you for indulging me in my slight rant. In the vein of this topic, I will be acting on a dusty plan for another category of posts. Having located my antique books of etiquette, I will be sharing excerpts, elaborating on how they still apply in this day and age. I do hope you enjoy.

For now I am off to ponder. Have a wonderful evening, and as always...

Keep it Spooky,


No comments:

Post a Comment