Try Something New Tuesday – Respect


Refuse to let the world corrupt you.  James 1:27

It’s Try Something New Tuesday!

Something I learned from an early age was manners.  It’s interesting how lessons learned early in life are instilled for a lifetime.  My parents were consistently correcting me on how to address adults.  The words “yep”,  “yes”, “yeah”, “no” and “nope” were not acceptable.  The proper answer to a question was “yes ma’am”,  yes sir”, “no ma’am”,  or “no sir”.  Adults were not called by first names, but “Mrs. Smith” or “Mr.  Smith”.  Adults in the family were addressed by their relationship plus their given name, for example “Uncle Tony”.  My parents’ and grandparents’ closest friends were referred to the same as aunts and uncles.  Bad language and interrupting was not tolerated.  We washed up and combed our hair before dinner.  We placed our napkins in our laps and chewed with our mouths closed.  Smacking, slurping and other meal time noises were not allowed.  When we were finished eating, we asked to be excused.  After everyone finished a meal,  girls were expected to help with the cleanup regardless of whose house you were visiting.

When I was a Girl Scout, the lessons continued.  I learned how to set the table, personal grooming and how behave in formal situations. This came in handy when we visited the Governor’s Mansion for a formal tea when I was eleven.

When my friends and I were preteens, there was a class in our church on dating etiquette.  We were taught about the way young men and women were to behave.  Leaders in the church instructed young men how to treat the young ladies with respect by opening doors, pulling out chairs at dinner, helping girls with their coats, allowing women to order first in a restaurant, offering a handkerchief, greeting a young lady at the door and walking her back to the door after the date, and similar niceties.  Young ladies were taught to wait for and expect proper behavior from young men and how to respond.  My father would have punished me for running out the door, if a young man honked the car horn when arriving at our home.  We were taught proper dress and grooming, how to dance and appropriate social behavior for a young dating couple.  When the time for dating came, we were so caught up in behaving correctly in our dating roles, that we forgot about the romance element, at least for a while.

When I was in high school, I took business classes where I learned the appropriate way to write and fold correspondence, greet customers and other professionals, and to behave over the telephone.  While this sounds a little unnecessary, you would be surprised how much I’m complimented on behavior I learned in these classes.

The lessons of respect have continued in my life as an adult, as have my husbands.  He still opens the door for me .  I still refer to people in a position of authority or elders as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”, which has been a little contentious at work sometimes.

Many of the rules of etiquette have been tossed to the side over the years, and some would argue they are no longer needed.  However, I believe manners teach us how to treat others with respect and how we should be treated.  Etiquette teaches us how to behave and prevents uncomfortable awkwardness in social situations.  With the lack of respect for others in society today, I think it should be reintroduced and taught to future generations.

Join me in teaching children and young adults manners.  God bless you.

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