In today’s society manners and how we present ourselves stick out in comparison to the past. A lot of times our children want so hard to fit in with what their peers are doing- but forget that in certain respectful or formal situations, it’s important to be at your very best.
I’m amazed that when people go to court for instance, you’ll see lawyers and judges in suits and formal dresses while the general public can run the gamut from business attire to shorts, flip flops and t-shirts. If you were going to defend yourself and you look like you really don’t care very much about your appearance, what is that really telling the judge? How are you going to improve to stay out of trouble with the law?
And never mind hearing teenagers back talking their attorneys or judges in the court room. I guess some people are failing to understand the principle of respect: it’s earned, it’s not a given birth right. So many times I’ve heard that people will give respect when they get respect. I think you gain respect by how you treat yourself, how you treat others and your understanding of your place within the world.
I grew up in a household where ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ went a long way. Where when someone thanked you, you replied ‘you’re welcome’. If there was a piece of trash in your way, it didn’t matter if you weren’t the culprit, you just picked it up out of kindness and wanting to keep your environment clean. If there was a big job that needed to be done, you didn’t wait to be asked to participate- you volunteered your effort and your time.
I don’t think it would be a bad thing to institute some sort of community service requirement for high school students before they graduate. It would help them understand that what they’ve been given often times for free from their parents and their school systems should also be paid forward to their community. Our world wasn’t built by one person alone- we all need each other to thrive and survive.
If someone’s having a bad day, throw a smile their way or pay them a compliment or give them something uplifting to think about. We spend too much time throwing more gasoline on an already lit fire when it comes to negativity. Help people realize that their inner kindness and beauty can also be shown to the outside society in their manners, their generosity and their natural gifts and talents.
It’s never too late to apologize for a wrong doing to someone. You’ll feel better and so will they. Even if you write it down and send it in the mail, pick up the phone and call or even see them face to face- the forgiveness within your heart will make a lot of illness and stress go away.
Know though that people do pay attention to politeness and image. The more you care about yourself and those around you, the better people feel and the better people will treat you in the long run. We can all use more happiness within our lives, more laughs and more exciting, great experiences.