the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Where have the manners gone?

21 Comments

For some reason, comments did not seem to be enabled on this entry, so I hope Jaime doesn't mind that I reference it and reply in a post of my own.

In this particular entry, she's talking about chivalry, or rather, kind manners and etiquette on the dating scene.  I think it's a very relevant and germane topic right now, as there's already been some discussion on it.  In particular, this reminds me of a news article I read some time ago.

As seems so frequent on the 'Net, I have a lot of difficulty finding an article I read in print.  But the point that jumped right out at me was that although "hookups" might be regarded as acceptable and modern, many women wanted a return to old-fashioned dating and courtship.  Tally this referenced entry as another vote for the sentiment.

I want to emphasize that these notions are better (at least in my opinion) when they are a mutual understanding and given freely, not a demanded expectation.  There's nothing I found more annoying when it was a browbeaten requirement.  It's the idea that counts.  Yes, many considerations were conceived of practicality, when women wore hoop skirts and the like, and some women think it egalitarian to practice what was once expected of the men, but I'm sure it is a general boon to social relations in general.  And speaking as a married man, I must emphasize that it is still important to show chivalrous and genteel courtesy to one's spouse!  It would seem to me that observing kind manners is to cultivate a committed relationship.

Anyway, Jaime and I had already discussed manners in her topic Students lie, cheat, steal, but say they're good, which was a recent Associated Press (AP) story.  I said

Speaking of manners, actually, I think that might be the good starting point. It would be nice if schools would help make this focus (after all, isn't cheating and plagiarism a form of disrespect?), but until they do, I think I'll renew my efforts at home.

and she replied

As a teacher and educator, I would love it lots if parents could instil proper manners in their children… *hint hint* I've seen so many disrespectful children that it's truly sad. Because I work at a top-notch tutoring/supplemental education firm, I've been able to work with students more closely and try to teach them some form of respect… but I see so many who come in our doors, who have no repsect for their elders, or themselves.

So where is "manners for the masses"?  I'm not sure a pat answer of "parents should teach their children" will suffice, because sometimes the parents are worse than the children.  It wasn't that long ago that I was studying education, and it seems that it is fairly unlikely that it will be taught in the schools, either– focus seems too strong on improving standardized test scores.  When I was in high school, the only thing I can think of that would come close to this was a "leadership" class taught by a very respected and honorable coach (search for "Craig Beverlin Kamiakin High School" and you'll see what I mean– he fought for music and drama departments, too), and I am guessing that some of the class fundamentals would have been beneficial to all students.

I'm thinking of a broad, comprehensive vision.  There seems to be a smattering of it throughout the grade school and higher education institutions, from teaching children to follow basic rules to "alcohol education" for young adult undergraduate students, but nothing that I would think covers the full scope.  Maybe I just think about it more because it's been a point Cimmy and I have struggled to educate our daughter on.  She's very bright and demonstrated early on that she would have little difficulty with academia, but we have strived to catch her up as far as social skills.  (We freely admit that she takes after both of us somewhat in that regard.)

It would be nice if we could get more assistance– if not in the public schools, then from other private and parochial organizations– through church, community, etc.  I really do think it's that important, for everyone, of every age to learn the propriety of the anciently established guest/host relationship.

Crossposted to LJ, itemid = 1032, security = public, mask = 0.

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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

21 thoughts on “Where have the manners gone?

  1. The only long-term successful way to teach children good etiquette is to demonstrate it.

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  2. *sigh*There was a lot to be said for polite behavior and respect and manners……civilitiy seems so antiquated now. Our society is increasingly coarse, crude, selfish, self-centered and dangerous, as a result. It's sad that many people no longer realize that "good behavior" existed in part to keep people from slaughtering each other over the earlier versions of saved parking spaces and bargains on Black Friday. I admire parents and educators who try to fight against this trend, but I despair for the future. I know that that pesky old pendulum will swing back and there'll be rigidity for a while (which no one wants, I'm sure) but then there'll be mannerly behavior again, when things calm down, because that 's how we humans do things. I won't live to see, I'm sure. These tnings take time. In the meantime, I'll still behave the way I learned as a child and try to be patient with the people who don't know any better. Good post……..I appreciate your PM, too — haven't had a chance to answer it yet, but I will. We have high winds today and power things….*waves*

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  3. So very very true……….*waves to Purplesque*

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  4. *waving back*High winds and power things..oh. Stay safe.

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  5. Aye, indeed. The best teachers are those that live and breathe what they are teaching.But I simply say that I wish that there were more vehicles, so to speak, for this to occur. They can be Family Nights, community seminars, classroom courses, "fireside" chats, and hey… YouTube videos. There's no doubt that some such things exist– but I wish there would be MORE.

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  6. awww,thanks ..the wind is supposed to die down a little after 10:00pm… It's been a wild day here!

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  7. I think you pretty well nailed it when you said that manners and civility start, first and foremost, as an expression of respect. I think that is what is so often missing. I always try to extend simple courtesy to people, even when I disagree with them. Suffice it to say that for some people this is more difficult than for others.

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  8. I think part of the problem lies with a dysfunctional regard towards guilt and shame– in that there is too much of an excess either way. Either people spend too much time wallowing in it, or acknowledge too little of it, and will break social folkways and mores in an attempt to get ahead or to make a power grab for control.Having worked the 12 Steps and been in counseling/therapy for many, many years, it seems that some, like myself, have been caught in downward spirals of codependency and addiction, bouncing between trying to please everyone, or at least particular loved ones, and "acting out" and binging to feed our own lack of self-esteem and self-worth. This is why I found Jaime's observation that students seem to "have no respect
    for their elders, or themselves" very apt– the disrespect is internal as well as external.

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  9. From centuries past, when people were routinely armed, courtesy was a
    matter of life and death. In the increasingly violent world we see
    today, it still is.Aye, from what I've studied, it seemed very much a matter of necessity. Some of that still lingers. When I was a freshman in college 16 years ago, I inadvertently put my hands under the table at the cafeteria and a French-born student got very nervous. She explained that the common assumption of her culture was that I would be hiding a gun. I asked my father about it, as he'd served an LDS mission to France and Belgium, and he confirmed it.It is about making the other person feel comfortable in your presence.Well-said. That summarizes just about everything that's been said so far. Thank you.

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  10. Whoops! I knew I forgot to do something with my post… I've now enabled commenting…
    And wow! Thanks for the reference. When I saw the question last night and started to write my answer, I had to really think about how I wanted to word it. I think you hit the nail on the head when it boils down to respect for others. I was ranting a little in my post regarding the particular issue at hand, and I think that comes with what I've seen a lot recently, which is a complete and utter lack of respect for human beings, which then spill into relationships. To note, I don't mean that such "manners" (in which I had described) should be demanded, but it would be nice if it was present. Just because we've now moved into an age of feminism & independence doesn't mean that all genteel manners are tossed out the door.

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  11. Just because we've now moved into an age of feminism & independence
    doesn't mean that all genteel manners are tossed out the door.Speaking of feminism, I'll reference this post that you sent me for the interest of the others here. It made the [culture is good] page.

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  12. Parents do need to play a bigger role in instilled proper manners in their children. However, I feel that many of the community support systems of yesteryear have been abandoned. One of those "community support systems" for me was the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts provided me a framework of reinforcement of what we called in the military "core values". Scouting also emphasized for me: brotherhood, respect from one's elders, and self-control. Today there are few organizations that kids can go where manners are institutionally encouraged outside of the classroom. We as parents must recognize the problem and take appropriate action and stop relying on the government school system to solve it for us.

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  13. I do agree that many "community support systems" have been lost. I went to Girl Guides as a child, and found the things that I learnt there to have played a large role in who I am, especially when it comes to team-work, respect for others (elders included), and other core values that kids today don't seem to have. Both Boy Scouts & Girl Guides are still available today… I think more parents should consider those activities for children, and not just focus on sports or academics.

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  14. It is in the gutter for sure.

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  15. Sadly, the Boy Scouts (at least in the States) were embroiled in a very bitter political dispute a few years ago. I decline to explain what it was publicly, so you'd have to ask me privately.

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  16. All around, I have found that it's best to be kind in every way possible. Of course, it's something I really try to aspire to, I definitely miss the mark sometimes, and sometimes in a big way. I wish I would do better.

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  17. Reminds me of this Taoism picture I found a while back. It was from a site where mottos of various creeds were listed. This one mentioned kindness and virtue to the kind and unkind alike.

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  18. I think regardless of why… it's sad that Boy Scouts were embroilled in a political dispute because no doubt, that has turned Boy Scouts off to a lot of families.

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  19. Other families would have been "turned off" had it gone the other way, and therein lies the dilemma.

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  20. It's really too bad that politics often get in the way of well-meaning children's activities… or in the education system… I often think that in an utopian situation (of course, this is all hope and nothing else), that politics should be left out of such things.

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