Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Social Politeness....Wjhere Has it Gone?

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use. 

Emily Post

Whenever I get on a bus I  am always sure to 'good morning' or 'good afternoon', and when  I exit, I always make sure to thank the driver. If someone does something nice for me such as holding the door, I am sure to say 'thank you', and if I am the one being thanked for something, I always say 'you're welcome'.  If I want someone to do something for me, I always say 'please' before my request.  Please, thank you, you're welcome, good morning, good afternoon, etc. Simple words that mean a lot.  Being pleasant costs nothing, takes no effort, and can brighten somebody's day

Saying  'thank you' shows someone that you appreciate something nice they have done for you. And if you want someone to do something for you, always be sure to say 'please'.  For example, doesn't it make you feel better when someone says "Will you get me a soda when you go to the store?" rather than the "Get me a soda" a co-worker is notorious for.  The first one is a polite request, the second is an order...and I hate to be ordered to do something.  Grrrr!!!!

 And you don't know how irritated I get when I hold the door for someone and they don't even say 'thank you.' It leaves a knot in my stomach, and I find myself hoping to see them again, that next time I will allow the door to slam in their face, but I know I won't.  That's not me.  Two wrongs don't make right.  It's a shame that social grace and manners have all but disappeared in this day and age. I hear all the time that people have such busy lives that they forget the simplicities of life.  People are always so stress out and in such a hurry that politeness has lost a place in their lives.  You know what I say to that one.

I came across the following the other day while I was doing some research for a course I am taking on 'Old Age in the Modern Era'...of all things.  The question was asked....Talk about some of the changes you see in the way the elderly are treated nowadays and how they were treated in the past. Of course, respect and manners were at the top of my list.  And then I came across the following and found it very interesting.  At the turn of the century, manners were taught in our school system.  The following is a little game the teacher used to play with students:  

The players are seated, with the exception of five or six who stand at the front of the room. These standees are given "Golden Keys to Courtesy" (polite expressions), when they respond to the questions asked by the teacher.

The teacher hands a book to one, who takes it, saying, "Thank you, Miss Smith." (A Golden Key.)

Of another she asks, "Do you like history, Tom?"

The response may be, "Yes, Miss Smith." (The second Golden Key to Courtesy.)

To another Miss Smith says, "Good morning, Dick."

The response, "Good morning, Miss Smith," serves as the third Key to Courtesy.

The fourth is requested to pass in front of the teacher. This he does with an apology, "Excuse me," or "Pardon me." (The fourth Golden Key to Courtesy.)

Of a fifth she may ask, "How are you feeling to-day?"

The response may be, "Very well, thank you, Miss Smith." (The fifth Golden Key to Courtesy.)

Then the players, seated, name the five Golden Keys to Courtesy in order: 1. "Thank you, Miss Smith." 2. "Yes, Miss Smith." 3. "Good morning, Miss Smith." 4. "Excuse me." 5. "Very well, thank you."

Then, when all heads are resting on the desks and all eyes closed, the Golden Keys change places (two or three). After they have been rearranged the signal is given to wake up. Individuals are called on to name the Keys to Courtesy in their new arrangement. Those who succeed in so doing change places with those representing the Golden Keys to Courtesy. The game continues. Other questions and other responses are utilized.

Teachers Monographs: The National Journal of the Public Schools, 1917

My goodness, I say we need games like this in school today. Learning a little respect never hurt anyone, and the world would be a better place.
Thanks for listening to me today.

Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them. 

Bill Kelly


  1. -sigh- I really think simple manners, are gone... Like being able to write cursive, is gone. And having a conversation with anyone, face to face, without them consulting their cell phone, is gone. Etc. Etc.

    I usually blame the Fast, Fast, Fast Mode of our Present Way of Living. It's easy to blame. It covers so many lost things.

    But should we just let them go, without saying anything? Hmmmmm... Guess that is an individual choice, depending on the individual happening.

    I will be so happy for you, when you can cut back on the ways, in which you have to face "the Public," daily.

  2. Canadians are still polite. Move here!

  3. 'Too busy' to say please, thank you, and you're welcome?? That's just completely idiotic. I agree that politeness seems to have disappeared. And with all the 'progress' society has supposedly made. Good manners can't be replaced by technology!

  4. I'm a firm believer that everything begins "at home!"
    From manners, to respect, to tolerance, to differences what ever they may be. ISUN!


  5. Some of the younger people today are so rude to the elderly that it absolutely sickens me!!!

  6. I echo Debra's sentiments - we Canadians are known for their friendliness and politeness. In fact, my province is known as Friendly Manitoba - so yes, move here!