Why are good manners, etiquette, and common courtesy disappearing from our society? My mother called these “proper upbringing” and most people with “proper upbringing” exhibited these traits.
I have encouraged my grandsons to stand when an adult enters the room. How often do you see adults and young people continue watching television when a guest arrives at the home? I stand until I’m told to keep my seat or “please sit down”. I stand when anyone enters my office, even fellow employees. Remaining seated is a form of disregard or insult to your guest.
Wearing caps and hats indoors has become common place. Daily you see caps and hats in restaurants, homes and other places. I recently saw a man at a funeral wear his cowboy hat while sitting with the family on the front row in a church. A young man sat down by me at a wedding in a church wearing a baseball cap this week. The campus of Texas A&M is a perfect place to witness proper hat and cap manners. Every head cover comes off as a door is approached at every building on the campus. This is fun to watch the first time you witness it.
Most older men wash their hands before leaving the men’s room; many young men don’t. The signal for meal time at our home was mother saying, “Wash your hands. It’s time to eat”. The first day of the first grade, the teacher took all of the boys to the boy’s restroom and showed us how to wash our hands, and we were told to always wash our hands before leaving the restroom. Can you believe this was taught in school?
Door mats are intended to serve a purpose. You rub and scrape until water, snow, or mud is removed. If you are not sure, you kick off your shoes at the door whether at home or entering some other person’s home. We kicked off our shoes a lot when I was a kid, even at school. I still kick off my shoes when in doubt.
Holding doors open may be a casualty of the Equal Rights Movement, but I still think it is a common courtesy. I hold the door open for the person following me regardless of age, sex, color or position in life. I leave an elevator with the first wave when asked, but otherwise, I hold the door open and exit last. Even if others don’t appreciate this courtesy, you will feel better, and you will have a better day. Try it, you will like it.
We will save, placing our hand over our heart during the playing of our National Anthem, double dipping, sneezing, coughing, blowing our nose, cutting in lines, talking with food in our mouths, returning grocery carts, clearing our table at fast food restaurants, blocking the isle on airplanes, waiting our turn at four way stops, handicap parking, saying thank you and being nice to older people for the next Reflections. If you have suggestions for this list, or a pet peeve, give me a call or post it on the Rotary website.