Monday, 3 August 2015

The Cost of Good Manners

While out for my daily jog, I started thinking about eating (this, of course, is a recurring theme while I am running, thinking about how much I am going to enjoy that chocolate when I get back to the house!).  Any case, I was thinking about eating and how eating is best done in company.  It is very much a social activity.  A simple cup of coffee becomes an occassion when enjoyed in the company of good friends or family.

 It is interesting how the act of eating instigates conversations about food.  We share thoughts about favourite foods and recipes we have tried or still want to try.  We exchange information about good restaurants, food choices, etc.  We reminisce about our favourite childhood foods or sweets.  My husband often tells our children about the chocolates he loved way back when, and what all he would be able to buy with half  a crown.  My mom loved Turkish Delight. A few weeks ago I bought a friend of mine a Turkish Delight bar, and although it was still in the same type of wrapper, I found, much to my dismay, that it was half the size it used to be.  I started noticing how many of the well known chocolates have indeed shrunk in size and even the quality is not as it used to be.  
However, we are, mostly, not aware of this.  It usually happens so gradually, that by the time we do start to notice that something is amiss, we feel uncertain whether or not it is our imagination.  The reason why sweets and chocolates become less, while the prices increase, is simply economics.  Instead of just putting the price up, they also cut back on the cost of manufacturing by reducing the size .  It is a gradual erosion of quality and value.  It is not something that is announced or which we are made aware of in some or other way, it just quietly happens.  We accept it, no questions asked.

In much the same way, this erosion of quality and value happens in every other aspect of our lives as well.  Just take good manners, for instance.  Good manners these days are quite a rarity and people equate good manners with being old fashioned.  The youth of today scoff at manners and etiquette.  They deem it "uncool".  Reprimanding your children for throwing tantrums and insisting that they be courteous is frowned upon, even considered to be interfering with their "human rights".  
A young man opening the car door for his girlfriend is virtually extinct, as is pulling out a chair for her at the restaurant.  The etiquette of courtship is as dead as the dodo, people no longer want to go through all that  "rigmarole" in today's world of instant gratification.  The use of foul language is no longer the dubious privilege of the sailors, but men and women alike, seem to be unable to join two words together without the use of a horrible word or more.  And we all just go with this flow.  We accept this gradual decline and loss of good manners.  
Yet, the lack of good manners comes at a price.  It leads to the loss of respect.  First of all, respect for ourselves and secondly respect for others.  We do as we please, whatever we please, with little regard for others.  Our lack of good manners also impacts negatively on us.  It affects the way people perceive us.  It can make all the difference in a job interview, or when meeting somebody for the first time. Although we have become used to the shortage of good manners, we still hope for it and when we encounter it, the person displaying good manners, stands out from the crowd.  He or she grabs our attention immediately and we are drawn to such a person.
A  friend of mine, Michelle, calls herself very old fashioned, as good manners and common courtesies are still very important to her.  She makes no secret of it and does not apologize for it.  She has put her foot down and expect others to treat her with respect.  Maybe it is time that we join her in this.   It starts, first of all with us.  We have to set the example in our own homes.  It is up to us to teach our children from the earliest opportunity what good manners are.  Believe me, people will take note of them, and even if they were to be teased by their friends, it will be to their advantage all of their lives.  After all, good manners cost nothing, all it asks is for a little consideration.

I leave you with this quote by Clarence Thomas:

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot."


  1. The part about sweets and chocolate bring back memories for me! Growing up in England, I remember all the good Rowntrees chocolates we used to eat, especially at Christmas. I remember Selection Boxes being a big treat And Turkish Delight! Yes, that was a favourite too at Christmas - another special treat we only had at that time of year. It came in a wooden box covered with icing sugar and always delicious. It is hard to find such high-quality sweets any more.

    1. Our favourite treat at Christmas time is still a box of Quality Street! How we would 'fight' to get our favourite one!!!! Good memories are so magical!! Thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your good memories. Blessings,

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