These three concepts should be a part of everyday life. But, unfortunately, with time and people being so self-absorbed, these things tend to get pushed to the side. Having a code of ethics and a real standard needs to be reinstituted back into our core beliefs.
Etiquette is a code of social behavior, or set of rules when you are in a public setting or group. What I call etiquette is ‘home training’. Let’s start with something simple, setting the table. Did you know that the napkin and forks go on the left and the knife and spoons go on the right of the plate? Wait… I may be starting to far ahead. Did you know that you’re supposed to eat dinner at the dinner table? Our fast-paced lives have taken us away from the simplest of things. It’s easier to just go by the drive-thru window, order our food and eat it in the car. No wonder we are socially stunted. We aren’t even functioning as a family unit, the most important and basic social group. It’s sad because when I used to see children misbehaving my thought was, “They don’t have any home training.”
Courtesy is a behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others. I was in a restaurant yesterday and I overheard a portion of the conversation at the next table. This guy was talking really loud, almost yelling, about a friend of his that saw a cockroach in his house and how he couldn’t believe that he saw a cockroach. Then he said, “Well, are you going to kill the cockroach?” Cockroach, cockroach, cockroach… He must have said it 12 times!!! Dude, I don’t want to think about cockroaches whilst I eat!!! Or another one… can you please leave the table when you need to blow your nose? I’m just saying…
Chivalry is valiant behavior, gracious courtesy and high-minded consideration, especially to women. This area is interesting to me because I’ve heard it said that, “Chivalry is dead.” Actually, it isn’t… It’s on life support. I think that the women’s liberation movement became an impediment to chivalrous behavior. Things like opening the car door, allowing a woman to ‘go first’, or holding a lady’s hand while she walks the stairs were frowned upon because the response became, “I can do it myself.” But, I say it’s on life support because it’s not completely dead. In today’s society, there is an expectation, especially in social gatherings, for a man to entreat a woman a certain way OR if a man is interested in a woman then, these actions are accepted.
My issue with all of these areas is that we shouldn’t have to have an ulterior motive in order to do any of these things. Why is it acceptable to honor a woman only when you’re trying to get in her pants? How can we stand-by and watch someone struggling with a load and not, at least, offer to help them carry it? Did you know that every conversation is NOT suitable for every situation? Every thing has a place and that’s what Courtesy, Chivalry and Etiquette are all about. I’ve seen the historic extremes where a man would take off his coat and lay it on the ground so that a woman can walk over a mud puddle. My response to that is, courtesy goes both ways… Can’t she just walk around the puddle without him messing up his jacket?
My purpose today is just to allow us to think about the importance of treating each other with honor and respect with no strings attached… But, more importantly address the next generation of people, our children. We should be teaching our children these concepts and ideas because it is they who need to master the art of ‘common’ courtesy and proper social protocol.
I love you ALL!!!