Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why Manners Matter

Don't chew with your mouth open.

Don't put your elbows on the table.

Don't belch in public.  If you do burp, say, "Excuse me."  

Bring the food to your mouth, not your mouth to the food.

Don't pick your nose.

Have you ever asked yourself what is the point of manners?

They don't really do anything.  Not anything important anyway.  It's not like The Ten Commandments or the Amendments of the Constitution.  No one is going to get hurt or die if you put your elbows on the table.  Is there really a point to knowing which side of the plate the fork goes on?

On top of that, things that are polite in America are rude in other countries.  There is no "right or wrong" with manners.  So why do we follow them anyway?

At first, I struggled with this.  My Westernized family's manners clashed with my Chinese friends' lack of Westernized manners.  It seemed wrong to judge people with foreign backgrounds on our standards.  It wasn't like it was a judge of their character.  It was just how "neatly" you ate.  Right?

In the end, I've realized that manners are just polite.  What's acceptable here isn't acceptable everywhere, by understanding and observing the manners of the culture/society you are in, you demonstrate a sensitivity and amiable nature.

It's not about the manner itself, but rather manners are a set of rules by which you can demonstrate courtesy.

True, there are a lot of rules that our society makes that are just silly.  You get to pick and choose, to a certain extent.  But instead of just throwing your cloth napkin out the window, consider others first.  It's not just about you and your comfort all the time.  Sometimes, its worth it to put yourself under the restraints of good manners and show someone you care.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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