With intrigue I was watching a major news station this morning and they showed two young men, junior high football players, helping an elderly lady who was wheelchair-bound. Apparently, she had crossed the street and could not move herself on the grass. This is when these two young men began to help her by pushing her through the grass to her final destination.
What was so intriguing about this is that it made headline news. Since when have good manners been made headline news? Could it be because good manners have seemed to go out the window? Is this such a rare occasion that we have forgotten how to help others, how to be kind to others, and how to think about others?
In many respects, good manners have gone out the window. I have to admit, sometimes my manners are not healthy either. I cannot sit here and act as if I am perfectly good mannered good natured all of the time. There are times that I am in a bad mood and am frustrated or irritated about this or that. And this is my conviction this morning: how have I not shown good manners to others? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our society–our community–because of a lack of good manners? It seems as if good manners have ceased to exist in different areas.
For instance, while driving, how many people continue to tailgate those who are actually doing the speed limit? Just this morning a very large truck was tailgating me while I was on my way to my office. Without any clue as to what I could have done, the driver stayed so close to my bumper for a number of miles even though there was room on either side of me to pass. If I had slammed on my brakes he would have been the one at fault and would have to pay for repairs, hospital bills, etc. And even though it is against the law to tailgate, he was not respecting the law nor was he respecting the idea of good manners when it comes to driving. Rather than tailgating, he could have gone around or he could have decreased his speed and not tailgated.
What about opening doors for others? It is amazing to me to see how you might open a door for someone and the rudeness of entitlement is seen and felt. The person for whom you open the door does not say “thank you” but walks through the door as if they are deserved the favor from you. People used to open doors for others without being asked or suggested. It was just common courtesy. If someone opened the door for someone else you would at least get some kind of acknowledgement. Nowadays, people just walk through without any regard for the one who is holding the door. And it is amazing when a whole group of people just walk through a doorway without acknowledging the one holding the door for their entire group.
What about the respect that we are to show toward those in authority over us? Police officers? Governmental officials? Clergy? Parents? In this “selfie” generation we are finding that there is no moral absolute, therefore, you can live like the hellion that you are without any regard for those in authority and it is all because their truth may not be your truth. Now there are people who are throwing buckets of water on police officers in New York City. ANTIFA is on the prowl seeking to harm anyone wearing a MAGA hat or anyone who does not agree with them. Whether you support the President or you do not, it is the Office of the President! Yes you have freedom of speech but with that freedom comes responsibility, yea, even civility, diplomacy, and good manners as well! But the rudeness of people who are against whatever they are against absolutely lacks good manners. People nowadays will openly say whatever they please to their clergy as well. It does not matter how mean one is because in their minds the minister is supposed to simply accept it, put up with it, and love the person no matter what they say or do. How soon the laymen forget that Jesus even said to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And let us not forget the parents. Have you been to a grocery store lately? The children who speak against their parents is in epidemic proportions. But why? I dare say it is because they see that their parents have no manners either.
I have two sons. They are aged thirteen and eight. I have the responsibility of helping to raise them to be gentlemen. It is my responsibility to train them to open doors for their mother so later on when they are married they will open doors for their wives and train their children to have manners. It is my responsibility to teach them to acknowledge adults who are speaking to them with “yes sir” and “no ma’am” or “yes ma’am” and “no sir.” It is my responsibility to help them to understand politics and policies that our governmental agencies place upon us and to respect governing authorities over us. It is my responsibility to help them to honor their father and mother as parents so that when they have their own children, they will be able to train up their children in the way that they should go.
Good manners are necessary for a society to function at its best. Without these manners, we will simply go the way of the barbarians. Respect goes hand in hand with good manners. The respect that we show for others will help us to help society to be a good and decent society. It is with this in mind that we need to show good manners toward each other. A simple “yes ma’am” or “no sir” will suffice. A simple “thank you” when someone does something nice for you will be grand. A simple act of respect for the police officer who sacrificially places himself in harm’s way to protect you will go a long way. A simple debate on policy and not on a person who holds a political office would be nice. Let us show character by not attacking a person but a policy. Perhaps it will help all of us as we seek to better ourselves and our society as a whole.
I am thankful for these two young men pushing this elderly lady in a wheelchair through the grass. It is a helpful reminder that good manners are not dead and maybe it would behoove us all to show some kindness, respect, love, grace, and mercy today. We can do this by having good manners toward each other.