Sheryl began by quoting from 1 Corinthians 13 about love. She observes that manners have mattered since ancient times. Manners as a formalized system originated in the French Royal court. The king was angry that people walked on the grass. He posted up tickets (etiquettes in French) that said “Keep off Grass” (presumably in French, though). The etiquettes evolved into a whole system of standards for how to interact with royalty.
Is etiquette a good thing? Do manners matter today?
Some object to etiquette. They believe it’s not honest. Honesty is good, but sometimes we need to filter. Adults are aware of how our behavior impacts others.
George Washington wrote 110 rules of decent behaviors and civility. The first is a great working definition of manners:
Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present. — George Washington
Manners are small sacrifices we make to get along well with others. Manners are inherently others-centered.
The problem is that as a culture, we’re not doing well. We don’t find others being very respectful.
Manners are not social poise. They’re soul poise. Well-mannered persons have something happening inside that shows. They’re persons of character on the inside first. They’re self-aware and calm.
You don’t start by teaching kids poise. Children learn behaviors. Behaviors shape character. In other words, teach kids behaviors that will cultivate poise later.
Challenge: Become intention about improving your manners.
- Self-awareness: Ask someone close to you to evaluate you.
- Get some pause: slow down and learn to reflect.
- Think of new ways to interact in stressful situations.
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. — George Washington’s Final Rule