'Manners' Matter

October 6, 2012
By , Vancouver, Canada
Manners Matter

People living in this era must have had an experience of people bumping into each other, and just walking away without apologizing. Some of them are in an urgent situation and we can tolerate that there is no time to be polite but most of them, whatever they are doing, are not in a hurry. People are usually able to judge whether the rude person was in a crucial situation. It’s true that it gets really frustrating to see the impolite person walk away like nothing happened when my feelings are hurt. It is becoming certain that manners and courtesies are disappearing at a rapid speed.


Manners have been greatly valued and judged since the ancient times, but not anymore. Customs and courtesies could be found in Ancient Rome, Egypt, and many other places throughout history. People who did not keep their manners to monarchs or even to high officials were often severely punished or executed. Whenever I did something that was unmannerly, my parents punished me very severely, usually with a long stick that I brought home with me from camping. I always regretted that I brought that stick home. Now, that I reflect on the things that I’ve done to my parents, I think they did the right thing.


Manners are important because they show love, gratitude, and respect toward another when practiced. They affect how we speak or act in a given situation. For example, saying “thank you” or “please” suggests that the person is feeling gratitude and respect. A person who provided help will feel absolutely delighted and feel that is was worthwhile to give the person the help he needed. Let’s say that there is an old lady and a girl. The old lady gives the girl a candy that her intestines couldn’t possibly digest. The girl is delighted, and says “thank you” to the lady, really meaning it. The girl is happy and the lady is happy. It makes a perfect win-win situation. These kinds of courtesies are obvious. In Korea, manners are very strict. We are not allowed to eat before elders do. We cannot even touch the spoon. Once, I was in my grandparents’ house and was enjoying the attention and privileges of being the youngest child in the entire family. Dinner time came, and the family sat around a round table. I was directed not to eat before my elders but with the rumbling sound of my stomach, my head refused to remember the directions. I ate a spoonful of rice and was almost immediately met with endless frightening stares and comments from many scary people. Compared to that, paying attention to manners and saying “thank you” is really no big deal.
We want to be recognized as people who have good manners because it doesn’t only make other people happy, it also makes people respect us. I remember that day when my mom’s friend came to our house and was devastated. I heard her story while pretending to play with a Barbie doll. Her story was like this: she had bought a brand new Channel bag and she put it in a black plastic bag because she wanted to protect the leather. The part-time housekeeper who worked in her house threw the plastic bag in to the garbage. The bag was nevefoundd again. The housekeeper didn’t know what was in the black plastic bag, and my mom’s friend didn’t know whether she should tell her and ask for reimbursement. The housekeeper couldn’t possibly have had enough money to repay her and it would have taken her months to work to produce the amount of money she owed. In the end, she told the housekeeper the fact but did not make her repay it. The housekeeper was a very hard-working, honest and polite woman. Her neighbors and husband knew that so they influenced her to not to charge her. Having good manners contributes to our personalities. Manners were always part of our lives. I don’t know why they are so scarce now.

When I encounter rude people, I assume that either they were never educated, or they just cannot find another way to express their anger. If it is the former, we can very easily improve their attitudes by informing them nicely. Like for example, when a person asks for a favor and does not say thank you, you can always say “you’re welcome” to inform the person that he should say thank you. If it is the latter, because the person is being rude to people to get out his stress, he deserves to be punished. Feelings are hurt easily. Bad manners have the potential to ruin people’s day. One day, a school office worker yelled and threw papers at me just because I asked her a question about the definition of “business day” for a form that I had to fill out and hand in. I couldn’t say anything back to her or ask her why she lost her temper because she was really frightening and old. My parents went to the principal’s office with me to fix the problem, and it turned out that she was under a lot of stress. What kind of person would express her anger to a thirteen year old who was just asking a question? I found it hard to respect her after that. A few days later, there was a notice saying that she is taking an early retirement.

Manners really do matter. Just by holding the door open and saying kind words, you will notice how people change the way they think about you. When people are trying so hard to get a good impression of other people and care so much about what other people think of them, don’t you think manners matter?





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Anonymous said...
Sep. 10 at 12:27 pm
Manners do matter
 
Socrates said...
May 22, 2016 at 7:43 am
People realize how manners matter when they they are weak, lost or helpless. Suffering teaches the best manners.
 
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