What Are Good Manners Good for?

What Are Good Manners Good for?

"Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor"—Rom. 12:10

What does "Good Manners" mean? The word "manner" means the way we do something.

For example, when we want a piece of bread at the table, in what way do we get it? Do we say, "I want a piece of bread," or, "Would you please pass the bread?" The latter is the correct way.

We usually regard courtesy, good manners, and politeness only as the way we treat other people. But our actions have a funny way of coming right back home. For by and large, other people treat us the same way we treat them; at least I have found it so.

Consequently, the way we treat others is the way we must expect to be treated. Good manners toward others means good manners toward ourselves.

One very old guide to good manners goes like this:

The correct thing to do and say;
Is the kindest thing in the kindest way.

If you don't know all the rules of good manners, think, act, and treat others with kindness and consideration. Kindness and consideration are hard to hide. Those around us soon know that we wish them well even if we can't remember all the rules of good manners.

True good manners come from a kind heart.

But even the kindest heart needs training in common, every­day courtesies.

Here are some key words to memorize in your lesson on good manners. They are short, simple, and won't use much breath in saying them. Yet they reap dividends.

They are:

"Thank you."
"Pardon me."
"If you please."
"Allow me to help you."

We could name many more such short phrases. The wonder is that even these few are so badly neglected. In a day when there is so much talk going on, these few key phrases, which unlock such magical doors, lie unused on our brain's shelf collecting dust.

Somebody has called courtesy, or good manners, the oil that lubricates human society. Oil is essential to machinery. It doesn't do any work but keeps the metal parts in a machine from rubbing against one another and burning up or wearing out.

Courtesy does the same for people. And just as oil is absolutely essential to machinery, good manners and courtesy are necessary for human beings.

Even three-year-old children can learn to say "Thank you" and "Please." I have heard them.

Do you want to receive courtesy from others? Then, be courteous to them.

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