The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Friday, August 7, 2015


Some folks think that manners are archaic, no longer applicable in a modern world.  Perhaps they do not understand the essential purpose of manners.  Every culture has a set of manners.  Although manners may differ from culture to culture, surely they are for communicating good will toward people we do not know.

And if you want to find a perfect illustration of the lack of manners in modern society, drive on the road.  Any road will do, a local road or a freeway or an interstate highway.  Every time we go out and about, we never fail to gasp at least once, because of the bad manners exhibited by way too many drivers.

Or watch a political debate or just an interview with a politician, while they accuse their opponents rather than stating their own positions. 

In far too many instances, rudeness and arrogance have become admired and encouraged and labeled as competency rather than what they are.  And this is true whether the individual is a driver of a vehicle who ignores the safety of all others on the road, or whether it is a candidate for higher office whose ambition is greater than their honesty and their sense of courtesy.

If an individual holds a door open for someone behind them, if a driver signals their intent to turn or change lanes or exit, if any kindness is shown to a perfect stranger just because …, these acts do not show weakness, they show good manners, they show an understanding of the basic glue that holds any society together. 

And manners can be extended even further:  to negotiations with other nations that will help those nations prosper as well as our own, and build toward peace rather than war. 


Because if we cannot indeed use mannerly behavior to make our travels safer, to show courtesy toward those with whom we disagree, to work toward peace and a better world, well, then, my original question stands:  “What are manners for?”

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