Life was certainly different when I grew up. I admit that this was a very long time ago and some might think that my age is showing that I am outdated. Perhaps this is true, but I am very thankful that I was taught how to have good manners
Here are some of the concepts to which I am referring:
- Respect – It wasn’t just the oldest person in the room or in the family who was treated well although they held positions of honour – everyone was treated with respect. We learned to hold the door open for others and let them enter before us. We passed the serving plate to guests before taking food for ourselves. And no one started eating until everyone was sitting down.
- Judgement – I was fortunate to have parents who were colour blind when it came to race. They didn’t discriminate against anyone regardless of their intellect, economic status or situation in life. They believed every person is special in their own way and lived their beliefs as examples for us.
- Gas – We would never consider burping or passing gas in front of others and certainly didn’t laugh when someone else broke this rule.
- Thanks – When we received a gift, we would sincerely thank that person. If it was sent to us for a birthday or wedding, a written card of thanks was sent right away.
- Authority – My mother was a schoolteacher and my father a Credit Union Manager. They respected their employers, supervisors and others in positions of authority. Also, we expected that those who were in positions of authority would act in a respectable manner.
- Community – In our small Saskatchewan town we worked together as a team as much as possible to improve things for everyone. Social services were usually handled by churches who anticipated the needs of others and filled them. Fowl suppers, rummage sales, and fundraisers taught us to combine efforts for the benefit of everyone.
- Environment – All of us not only studied about nature in school but also learned to shut lights off when leaving a room, pick up rubbish on the ground and turn off the tap rather than wasting water.
- Words – Saying “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” are all important ways to show other people that we care about their presence.
- Listening – When others were talking, we definitely didn’t interrupt. In fact, we were encouraged to listen to them and ask questions. If they were resting, we would be quiet. Listening and be aware of what other people were doing helped us to act appropriately.
- Responsibility – If everyone lived alone, they would understand who is making the mess and who needs to clean it up. We live in a world now with over 7 billion people, but it is still important to live with a responsible heart and aligned behaviours. Each of us was taught to take responsibility seriously and promptly.
A few years ago, our high school class had a reunion, and it was wonderful to all return to our roots. The people who we had grown up with for the first couple of decades of our lives came back with memories, as well as the values that we were taught
Our manners, behaviours, thoughts and feelings were always directed towards one simple phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone lived by and practiced this?