Sunday Inspiration: Everyday Etiquette

Before 'civility' was an annoying buzz word, there were Emily Post and Judith Martin, cajoling Americans into adopting gracious, other-centered behavior.

The type of advice they dispensed is now considered alarmingly retro - gentlemen opening car doors for women, children writing thank you notes for birthday gifts and placing their napkins on their laps while eating, women not lowering themselves to use profane language, and so on. Young Americans are now more preoccupied with social networking protocol than with being respectful to their elders, and their elders are often more concerned with having their creature comforts met than with displaying a pleasant countenance.

Still that doesn't stop me from longing for a renaissance in etiquette or from appreciating considerate individuals.

For Christians, mannerliness might also be equated with the 'fruits of the spirit' listed in Galatians 5:22. (The picture posted lists these fruits.) Other-centered, spiritual people are truly a joy to be around.

But back to the topic of everyday etiquette ... here's Miss Manners explaining why it's important, and why many lonely people may very well be responsible for their fate:

"You can deny all you want that there is etiquette, and a lot of people do in everyday life. But if you behave in a way that offends the people you're trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you ... There are plenty of people who say, 'We don't care about etiquette, but we can't stand the way so-and-so behaves, and we don't want him around!' Etiquette doesn't have the great sanctions that the law has. But the main sanction we do have is in not dealing with these people and isolating them because their behavior is unbearable."

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