Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Manners Thursday...

When I was much younger I received some excellent advice from my Dad. "Be kind to everyone, everyone deserves your smiles and consideration. But, choose friends carefully, only choose those boys and girls to be your friends that are the kind of people you'd like to be." In other words people you can respect. I took that advice with only a few miss-steps here and there. Most of the friends I made are still my friends and still doing amazing things.

The word respect however, can become a little confusing especially for kids. So, I loved this article in the Washington Post by Miss Manners Judith Martin (who is pictured here after receiving the National Humanities Medal). Here is a link to the following article that appeared in The Washington Post.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008; Page C07
Dear Miss Manners:
A group of friends and I are having a discussion regarding good manners and respect. My view is that respect comes from understanding and having good manners, whereas it is being put to me that good manners and respect are two distinctly separate things that can be had one without the other. We would be very interested in learning your thoughts on the matter, and I would consider them to be the final word on the subject.

Promising Miss Manners that her word will be the final one, even before you have heard it -- now, that is respect. She thanks you.
Yet she admits that the term "respect" is rather loosely used in the manners business. This leads to the sort of argument in which a parent says, "You have to show more respect for Granny," and the child replies, "Why, since she just got out of jail for petty larceny?"
The sort of respect to which the parent is referring is a part of good manners. It means exhibiting consideration toward everyone and showing special deference to those who are older or in a position of authority.
But the child hears the word to mean the genuine admiration felt for someone who has proved himself to be worthy of it. That sort of respect is, indeed, a thing apart, which etiquette cannot mandate.
Manners require only that people show respect, although with the secret hope that the outward form will become internalized. What people feel as they size up individuals is up to them.
And, I think that sort of respect is awarded by children and by adults only when it is merited.


Lilli said...

It's a thought-provoking topic...

I strive to respect everyone because there's always something I can learn from a person. Since I'm not perfect, I can't not respect another person that is on this same life journey. That's how I see it, that not to respect a person is my own failing.

But as you and Miss Manners say, respect can mean different things, and maybe it's a matter of degree. And I'm feeling a correlation between respect and dignity. So I guess I'm saying that I feel everyone deserves respect, and I may find myself respecting some more than others :)

michelle said...

Really great post!

Shauna said...

Great post. It has made me do some deep thinking.
Great advice from your dad! I can hear him give that counsel to you!