“Love…is not rude.” I Corinthians 13:5
Manners sometimes get bad press. If you read books on etiquette, there is a certain “proper” way of doing most things. When setting the table, for example, the blade of the knife is to be turned inward, toward the plate, not outward, away from it. At a properly done wedding, the bride’s mother always sits by herself or only with her husband on the first row, and is the last one to enter before the wedding party. Such rules have developed over the years and are usually taught in courses on manners.
But while some such points of etiquette may seem arbitrary and unnecessary to us, there is a proper role for manners in our relationships with others. Manners simply guide us in treating others with respect in a variety of social settings. One article recently reviewed a number of manners that a child should master, by the age of nine. They are:
- When asking for something, say “Please.”
- When receiving something, say “Thank you.”
- Do not interrupt. Others will notice you when they are finished speaking.
- If you need someone’s attention right away, say “Excuse me” in the most polite way you can to enter the conversation.
- When you have doubt about doing something, ask permission first.
- The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.
- Do not comment on people’s physical characteristics, unless it is a compliment.
- When people ask how you are, tell them, then ask how they are.
- Knock on closed doors, and wait to see if there is a response before entering.
- When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first, then ask to speak to the person you are calling.
- Even if a play or assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend you are interested. The performers or presenters are doing their best.
- When an adult asks you a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
- Never use foul language.
- Do not call people names.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Keep a napkin in your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.
- As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.
Manners. They are a way of showing respect for other people. The Bible reminds us that, “Love is patient and kind. It is not envious or boastful. Love is not rude.” How are your manners?
With Warm Regards,