Mr. Manners

“Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.” – Edmund Burke

I remember wondering why manners were so important as a child. It was easy enough to develop good ones, especially under the watchful eye of parents who wouldn’t let much – even in a house full of boys – slip. The more difficult part was growing into the understanding the spirit behind good manners.

In my experience, the spirit of any matter is far more important than the letter of it. Any child can mimic someone with good manners and create the impression of politeness, but the thin shell of civility quickly fades when that person is put in an uncomfortable or high-pressure situation.

The truly well-mannered child, however, is one whose manners spring from a deep fidelity to the spirit of love. In such a child manners are not divorced from the contents of his heart; they are one.

7 thoughts on “Mr. Manners

  • There is something about manners, when they spring from the heart, that have the ability to bring the best out of people. Manners reveal a respect for life and people and a concern to handle every interchange with finesse, class, empathy and passion. I could see a class on manners that included way more than formalities, but encompassed how to handle yourself in any situation.

  • I recently discussed this subject with a friend regarding a television show we both watch. It’s a drama set in a specific part of our country. They portray the locals as mostly ignorant and corrupt but with an unfailing level of manners to each other. Even when they’re threatening your existence they “yes mam”and “no sir”or call you Mr. It seems outrageous, and it is television after all; but with it I have realized there is probably a thin veneer that is translated in every culture that passes for acceptable and acts as entrance into it. This, devoid of a connection to a considerate heart is like most television drama, lacking depth with little believability. The strength of kindness and respect starts with the spirit of love and appreciation. When that is the inspiration; diversity, acceptance and courtesy sets a bar not based on mutual traditions but the expansive nature of love.

  • It seems to me that they are a matter of the heart for adults as well. For example, the opening of a door for others was likely taught to one as a child as good manners but for an adult is a deliberate act of kindness, care and respect.

  • Couldn’t help but think of Eddie Haskell when you were describing the veneer of politeness. Brought a smile to my face!

  • Good manners as the forms for the expression of love as appropriate to the situation at hand – now there’s a definition worth contemplating!

  • Thank-you for presenting the opportunity, to keep spirit in check!
    In the spirit of appreciation, let this day unfold!
    Eager to let it be so!
    Thanks Gregg!

  • Manners are important. Everyone deserves a certain level of respect by default, and manners are a way to ensure that this is delivered regardless of how a person feels.

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