On being polite
Today, with two teenagers in the house, I felt the need to write this post about good manners. It is all about respect; self-respect as well as respect for others.
This is my monologue to them, my preaching and my effort to help them lead a happy life.
This is also a good exercise, forcing me to clarify my message. Find the right balance between yesterday and tomorrow and express myself in a way that is clear, precise and contemporary! If it isn’t, they are never going to bother with it.
This is my effort to define the boundaries within which freedom and personal expression can really flourish.
Prospects, reasons and aspirations
I want my kids to behave appropriately every time. I want them to know the right thing to do even if they choose not to do it -occasionally!
I dream of a world where people respect each other even when they disagree. A place of honesty and integrity where there is no need for pretension, no desire to force personal opinions upon others.
Today people are often rude and disrespectful for no real reason, just because it is trendy to challenge the rules, authority, the government, the law, other people. Some object to good manners and politeness because they consider them too old fashioned and restrictive.
OK, there is an ambiguity as far as politeness is concerned. Politeness can be an act of conviviality and respect, but it can also be an act of hypocrisy. A set of rules which dictates that one is always pleased to meet someone, to find them interesting; that one has a pleasing demeanour in every setting. A model behaviour for every social situation can be daunting.
I want to argue that freedom lies within the walls of respect, within the rules of society which are there to express our need for order, to protect us from chaos and give us the space to express ourselves without fear.
I aspire to convince my children that being polite is not old-fashioned but instead it is necessary for progress. For our development at a personal level, as well as our advancement as a society. According to Steven Pinker in his book The better angels of our nature good manners have led humanity to less violence and thus more progress.
Identify the reasons for being polite
In our modern society we get to choose. We get to choose our identity and our standing within our community. There is room for everyone and everything. One can find a group of peers in any setting, be it elegant and polite or completely vulgar and disrespectful.
My main concern is that there is awareness. Awareness and choice. It is imperative that every person makes a conscious choice bearing in mind the reasons and of course the anticipated outcome.
Behaving politely in any environment not only portrays you beautifully within the group of people but it is also effective in creating partnerships and alliances; in finding support and thus progressing.
What is life and happiness if not acceptance and support?
My dearest child, you need to be polite so that people see you, the real you, and are not thrown off by bad manners and lack of respect.
Everybody wants to feel respected and valued. Everybody deserves to be respected and valued.
What do you think? Do you value politeness or do you find it hypocritical?