It's a Matter of Manners

Something happened to me recently that stood out as an uncommon event. And it shouldn't have.

It happened when I was greeting a friend as he brought his boat into our marina. As I was standing on the dock, he introduced me to 'Karen' and her son 'Hunter'. This seven-year-old bounded out of the boat and walked the length of the dock toward me. He extended his hand, looked me in the eye and said, "How do you do?"

The good manners he demonstrated by these simple actions were impressive not just because he is so young, but because they are so rare.

I'm not a stickler for proper etiquette. I'm talking about just plain good manners--about being polite.

We get phone calls at our home from teenagers as well as adults who don't introduce themselves or say 'hello' to the person answering the phone. They just say "Is ____ there?" And these are people who know us.

We've even been to showers and weddings where we never received a thank you card for the gifts given.

I'm sure you have your own list of boorish behaviors that irritate you.

Good manners are never out of style. And most of them are common sense--please, thank you, you're welcome and good day go a long way toward better human relations. A good handshake is an important social skill.

What does this have to do with success and personal development? Plenty.

People judge us by our actions. To get along in our culture, we need to show respect and be courteous. It's easy to turn people off by less-than-respectful behavior. On the other hand, it's easy to stand out by exercising even a modicum of good manners.

I suggest we first look at our own manners and how we might improve them. We don’t need to be stuffy; we just need to look for ways we can be more kind, considerate and polite. It's important to be a good example. Kids watch much more closely than they listen.

I also recommend talking to your kids and others you influence about the importance of good manners. Ask people what they observe that bothers them. Get a conversation going and put some focus on decorum.

Young Hunter impressed me and made his mother proud by showing good manners. It made me think about how important and yet how lacking good manners are in our society.

Good manners don't cost anything to exercise, but the lack of them may be costing us more than we know.


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