I am very thankful for the way I was brought up. Specifically because of the emphasis that my parents put on good manners. My mother owns a ‘pimp hand’ and, by George, she was not afraid to use it. If I ever spoke out of line, or tried to side step anything that was considered good manners, I would find my self seeing stars. Now, I only assume that seeing stars was as a result of my mother ‘clipping’ me, but honestly it was always too quick for me to really know what hit me. All I knew was when ever I failed to display good manners, I saw a flash and then stars. Sometimes even when she wasn’t in the same room.
Do not get me wrong, my mom never raised her hand to me unless I really deserved it. I just found myself in situations where I deserved it a lot of the time. I always assumed that she was a little over the top when it came to manners, but after spending sometime in the real world, and seeing how rare manners actually are, I am thankful for those correctional flashes of guidance.
Some where along the line, good manners became uncool. God knows where this happened and what shameful zeitgeist was the cause of it, but chivalry and good manners do not seem to be as cool as it was back in the day. This makes me sad. I think that being well mannered is something that really polishes off any other attribute that can be considered charming. Where ever possible, I make a point of being as well mannered as I can. If the infamous ‘meet the parents’ scenario comes about, I know that I am well equipped to make a good impression. The parents usually love me and I can pretty much thank good manners for that.
People also tend to respond with surprise if you make a little extra effort in the manners department. Thanking a store attendant for helping you out, or letting a female waitress walk through a doorway first, is usually followed by a fleeting look of confusion and a big smile. Even more rare, (and awe response inspiring) is asking a stranger if they need help carrying something. So often people just walk passed a struggling individual with a “it’s not my problem” attitude. What ever happened to the gentleman? All too often I see people shouting at others, especially in the service industry. Does the fact that a someone made an error, whether due to an innocent mistake or incompetence really justify the dramatic (and rather embarrassing) raised-voice response?
All I know is that there are a lot of people that could do with a little more manners and a slice of my mothers pimp hand. Being friendly and well mannered goes a long way. I know that if I step out of line, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a inter provincial clip across the teeth, and rightly so.