Archived Story

The 10 commandments of manners

Published 12:58am Sunday, August 12, 2012

Every so often, I stop using my manners. I have a dear old friend who tells me that I must be mad at my manners, because that could be the only reason I stopped using them.
Manners, like an old forgotten toy, get buried in the minutia of life and forgotten.
Here are a few I have uncovered and put back into rotation:
• Be gracious enough to say “thank you.” Thank you is hard for a lot of us, but truthfully it is the least we can say when someone has taken the time to show a little kindness.
• Don’t talk on your cell phone while waiting in a checkout line or at a drive through window. Really, it’s just plain rude and shows a lack of respect for the person trying to assist you and those around you.
• Remember your “Ma’am” and “Sir.”
• Faith comes first. However easy or hard that is for you to do, just do it: family, friends and everything else there after. And yes, I should have put this up at number one but I wanted to catch you by surprise so I put it in the middle.
• Show respect to your elders. They have been at this thing called “life” longer than you. Good, bad or indifferent, you can learn something from their example.
• Please. Yes, one we all-too-often forget, but pair it up with “thank you” as they are the best of friends and shouldn’t be separated.
• Do something nice for someone else just because you can. Random acts of kindness really go a long way. Not only are they wonderful for the recipient, but they make you feel good about yourself too.
• Smile, even at the random passerby in the street. You never know how much that simple gesture means to someone else. Besides, we all spend a ton of money making our teeth straight and white. Show them off once in awhile.
• Tell the truth. Even a little white lie is still a lie and can send you down the wrong path. It isn’t worth it and life is too short.
• Watch your tone of voice. It isn’t always what you say but how you say it.
Miss Manners, Emily Post and countless others have written books on the subject of manners. I would even venture to say your parents tried to raise you up with the basics of good manners.
Manners are to be used on a regular basis. Don’t just pick and choose the ones you like. They also like to be used together, in conjunction with each other. So,open a door for someone who is older than you and when he or she says “thank you,” smile.  See how easy that was? Yeah, I know you get it. Just looking for a little levity.
There is no excuse for bad manners, you can’t run out of manners and you can never use them up.
Manners are not something of the past — ancient relic that gets buried in the sands of time. With lack of use, they don’t ride off into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again.
So, go on and get your manners back out. Brush them off and say you’re sorry for having been mad at them for so long, and start using them again. You will be ever so thankful you did.
A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.

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