My today’s Blog post is just like my previous one “Character and Reputation” as the counseling to, not only parents or persons involved in the field of education but, all individuals worldwide of any age how to improve our manners towards others and make social contacts pleasing to own self and others. This short essay may be useful to anybody just to avoid any cause of harming one’s own or anybody else’s dignity which may arise from any display of ignorance of social etiquette or morals whatever you please to call it.
The ultimate goal of life is to build a good character. Own home and educational institutions contribute in development of the character of an individual. For Good or ill character of the person, mainly these two sources are responsible. The aim of a good character lies in the realization of the two great goals – social welfare and individual development. Today, the life is hardly free as many have to make mad struggle for wealth to live a materialistic life better; and hence, a very little attention is paid towards the character building and mannerism of growing children in the household.
Now, let me come to my subject and say that our Manner is nothing but the reflection of the character of our own. As the character is, the manners would be. Generally, the manners are considered as the minor morals in the society; and that is why we can see a decline in good manners of individuals everywhere in present times. Confucius, an ethical teacher, Philosopher and founder of ‘Religion of Confucianism’ has quoted, “Consideration of others is the basic of a good life, a good society.” A good life is the result of good character and a good character gives the birth to good manners. Emily Post (An American Hostess) has said the same thing in other words as “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” The foundation of good manners is kindness and sympathy also.
Home is the first institution of a person for cultivation of own behavior. Every home is responsible for good or bad manners of its members. Every member (but here to be meant as ‘children’) is influenced of the environment of the home and the behaviors of the members of the family (here also to be meant as ‘elders’).Good or bad manners come out from the inner character of the person. It is said, “As you sow, so you reap”. Same way, “As your character is, so your manners are.” But, here in this statement; there is an exception and it is that the possessor of a good character, sometimes, fails to show good manners due to ignorance of some special behaviors with others. Let us take an example of a characterized person who is from a rural area and does not know some etiquettes of an urban area. Such person may be criticized as manner-less due to our ignorance that the fellow is a villager, but we can’t say that he is character-less.
Now, let us come to the clarification of the word-‘Manner’; and its two kinds – ‘good’ or ‘bad’. By social tradition, certain forms of behaviour have been established as good manners which please others and bad manners which displease them. In brief to say, such approved forms of behaviour are established as ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’. These norms may vary from time to time, place to place, situation to situation and society to society. When an individual observes good manners, he or she is satisfied with it and the recipient also feels thankfulness with his or her manners.
Here below, you will find some tips collected from various sources and also thought out by myself as the guideline for good manners and which may serve as a check-list of some general and specific matters. These may need attention if all or any of them are new for any Reader to shape mode of manners of one’s own or kids’. These suggested ‘Dos’ or ‘Don’ts’ do not necessarily cover your all expectations, but some which are most essential at a first glance are presented here.
1.Restrict own self from loud or quarrel-like talks or conversations.
2.Avoid roaming idly in streets.
3. Extend courtesy towards ladies, older and sick people, handicapped people and school children in streets and public transportations.
4.Walk on the edge of the road when walking with the ladies.
5.While entering a bus or street car, allow ladies first and if accompanying them, descend before them.
6.Offer a lady or an older person a seat when Automobile is full.
7.Do not chew gum while travelling in public transport.
8.Do not rush ahead of others to secure a seat.
9.Avoid playing, whistling or talking loudly.
10.Say “Excuse me” or “Pardon, please” to go ahead when someone is blocking your way.
11.Clean off the shoes before entering a bus or somebody’s office.
12.Don’t drop fruit skins, waste-papers etc. on the road.
13.Pick up any scraps of paper or anything lying on ground which you see and deposit them in a waste-paper basket.
14.Address a woman as “Yes, Madam” or “No, Madam” and to a man as “Yes, Sir” or “No, Sir”, not merely as “Yes” or “No”.
15.Use the expression “If you please” or “Please” while making a request.
16.Don’t keep hands in pockets while facing anybody.
17.Say “Excuse me” in case if you disagree with a statement and present your ideas politely.
18.Rise when an older person enters the room and also when being introduced if you are in a sitting position.
19.Don’t interrupt the conversation of talking person and be attentive.
20.While talking with the other person, allow him or her time to speak
21.Remember that a written invitation requires a written reply and also in time.
22.You must attend invitation if accepted and in otherwise case inform timely with regret.
23.Greet the host or hostess on arrival and departure and greet the older people first before younger people.
24.Be courteous to everybody in all actions.
25.Stand in queue where it is observed.
26.Be friendly with your neighbours.
27.Attend funerals of community people or relatives.
28.Don’t forget to send condolence messages to the family of passed away.
29.Wear clothing suitable for the time of day and for your work.
30.Take a daily bath and dress becomingly.
31.Keep your teeth, hair, finger–nails in good condition.
32.Keep your clothing and shoes neat and clean.
33.Respect the property of other people.
34.Have respect and consideration for others.
35.Don’t spit on the road or at public places.
36.It is impolite to stare at anyone in public.
1.Draw back the chair for the girl or lady next to you at the dinner–table, and push it under her as she sits down.
2.Do not sit down until the host or hostess is seated. Men should not sit down until all the ladies are seated.
3.Do not rise from the table until the host or hostess has risen.
4.Do not rest your elbows on the table.
5.After you are served wait until the host or hostess begins to eat.
6.Don’t speak when your mouth is full of food.
7.Do cover your mouth when yawning, coughing or sneezing with your hand and don’t forget to say “Sorry”.
8.Practise good behaviour and good sportsmanship at games.
9.Learn to talk interestingly and to listen intelligently.
10.Be courteous, frank, and friendly. Do not try to be popular by attracting attention.
11.Do not make unkind, cutting remarks making other people down.
12.Show extreme care while passing of air in public.
13.Express what you wish to say as clearly and as attractively as possible, depending upon correct English rather than slang for effectiveness.
14.Wait for a sign of recognition before interrupting a person who is busy.
15.Keep your lips pressed while chewing the food. This practice will not allow any chewing sound.
16.Be courteous while having lift in a car and observe certain etiquettes as a rider.
17.Shut down the door properly and slowly when you descend from the car.
18.Change your seat in case of owner remains alone in driving seat when you have taken lift in a private car.
19.Keep silence till your destination arrives and if you are involved in talking, talk politely.
20.Be conscious of not allowing any sound by spoon/fork with dish on dining table.
21.Be courteous with waiters and lift man.
22.Knock at the door or ring a bell while visiting somebody’s house.
23.Trytobe always an honourable guest keeping certain disciplines.
24.Keep certain disciplines while visiting a patient.
25.Don’t insert your finger in your ear or nose publicly.
26.Don’t comb your hair in public.
27.Don’t start talking with unknown person without introduction by third party or self.
28.Don’t swear so much now and again while talking with anybody to prove that you are right.
29.Don’t forget to say “Could you say that again for me, please?” or “Pardon please.” when you have not heard properly.
30.If anybody introduces himself to you, don’t say simply as “O.K.”, “Hi !” or “Yes”; but, by shaking hand, say in same way as “I am so and so.” and add “It is very nice to see you.”
31.While beginning to talk on phone when you have dialled, don’t forget to say “Am I disturbing you?” or “Excuse me.”
32.Avoid annoying others with your cell phone.
33.In functions, funerals or meetings, keep your cell phone on vibrate mode or switched off.
34.Don’t eat while talking on phone.
Summing up, above tips of good manners are some out of thousands spread over in our living life. They may be categorized in various sections related to our behaviors with others. They can be learnt by insight, common sense, observation, practice, training and imitations or follow ups. A single lined general principle for good manners is “Self control in all our behaviors”. Lastly, I would like to quote Amy Vanderbilt, an authority on etiquette and author of her best selling book published on “Etiquette” in 1952 and still is in circulation today. She wrote, “Good manners have much to do with emotions. To make them ring true; one must feel them, not merely exhibit them”.
Hope your Reading of this Article was a satisfactory one in interest of your children as well!
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. : 17th November, 2007