Mind Your Manners
Growing up how often were you told to be polite or to mind your manners? I have come to realize, later on in life, that these very common phrases carry with them a very different meaning depending on whom you ask. Now, given, manners vary from culture to culture so we will today focus exclusively on the American culture. There are certain universals that (I hope) are considered common knowledge but then there are some things that you would think are common knowledge or that are obvious and they are in actuality very far from it.
So some of the universals are called into play during conversation and have to do with language and communication. “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “Your welcome” these are things that should just be said at the appropriate time, thank people when they do something for you, tell them they are welcome when they thank you. I would hope that most parents teach their children to say please and thank you.
Other universals have to do with body language and physical interactions. When someone extends there hand in greeting it is expected that you shake it. If someone is entering a doorway behind you, and they are close, you should hold the door for them. When speaking to someone you should make eye contact but you should not stare. In all interactions it is polite to respect the other individuals personal space. For most to do otherwise would be considered rude.
Now we get into the grey areas. When I was young we all ate at the diner table, I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished what was in front of me and I had to ask “May I be excused”. Today your lucky if everyone even sits down together at the same time. We were grateful to get presents for your birthday and for the holidays but now kids tear thru piles of gifts asking what’s next. Years ago you did not speak when an adult was speaking, you did not monopolize the television with an endless stream of cartoons, you had respect, you had manners. Today it seems there is no please and thank you anymore its “That’s mine” “I want” and “Now”.
As a child some of this behavior could be overlooked or considered acceptable but the problem is when this entitled and rude attitude translates into adulthood. You end up with a generation of lazy, obnoxious, pretentious individuals who are selfish and spoiled and lack intelligence, experience, work ethic and respect. This hurts themselves, the people around them and the world in general.
Respect, manners and discipline are what help the world run smoothly. When you are considerate of others and you follow the rules you contribute to society and you have a good chance of being happy as well as achieving success. Manners are the grease on the wheels; there is no reason to be rude. When you are rude it indicates to others that you lack class or discipline. So, mind you manners.
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