Manners Matter

I once heard someone talking over dinner about the final interview process a law firm had used. The potential new hire had to pass a “dinner test” before being considered for a position. Yep, the potential new hire would go out to dinner with the partners and their spouses. What was the test? Everything from how that person presented themselves to being able to meet new people and carry on and engage in meaningful conversation. Did they possess manners???

Yep…I loved hearing it…Manners MATTERED!!! In fact, as I was sitting at dinner, the story was being told about a brilliant potential candidate that had interviewed far above all other candidates until the last test…the dinner with spouses test…a big fail, he was deleted from the running.

I found the conversation interesting as we asked questions of my friends about the debacle over the dinner test. Clearly somewhere along the way…the smart, accomplished, hardworking candidate had either NOT been taught manners or had completely disregarded them as having any value to their success.

I couldn’t sleep the other night after God had impressed it upon my heart to write about manners. I was reflecting on my “own” grade on manners and I know for sure, in some areas, I have just become LAZY… lazy with myself and lazy with our kids…even if they are 25, 22 and 20. I am still their mother and that will never change. Even if it makes them mad…anger should not deter me from kindly, gently…continually not only leading by my influence but “speaking the truth in love.”

Let me just stop and say right here… Manners matter…and we all need to have them. Being inconsiderate, self-centered and disregarding others is and always will be unacceptable in my book. In August, I heard Andy Andrews, best-selling author and motivational speaker, equate manners with wealth…He said, “MANNERS are the road to wealth!” Yes he was talking about financial gain but I believe there is spiritual gain as well. A double win!

I feel manners and loving others are one in the same. It is biblical!…Of course scripture doesn’t have a list of 10 MUST Manners but God expects us to read scripture and allow it to infect our heart and our actions. So today, I stand on the scripture found in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I don’t think it is a stretch to say these verses deal with manners. I think one way we express love to others is through our manners. We, as Christians, should go beyond the minimum in how we treat others. Our behavior, in and of itself, can speak volumes.

Over and over again, the New Testament writes of greetings to its readers. The readers are exhorted to care for the person who is coming to them to help them or minister to them–A.K.A. showing manners to those coming.

Every culture has its own list of what is considered polite and rude. We live in a society that does not seem to value others. We are too busy to hold the door for someone else. The following is a short but not complete list of manners that seem to have been lost in our society:

Be on time. When you are late, you are basically saying to the other person…”I am more important than you!”
Do not eat with your mouth open or smack. (disgusting)
Take your elbows off the table.
Take your hat off inside the building. (Golfers)
Do not eat until everyone has been seated at the table or unless the host encourages you to go ahead.
Do not talk when someone else is talking.
Do not interrupt. BE quick to listen and slow to speak. (most of the time me/we are thinking about what we want to say) RUDE.
Make eye contact when being spoken to. When you don’t look people in the eye, it screams a lack of respect for them and yourself. Cell phones are great tools but are also RUDE TOOLS! KNOW WHEN TO PUT THEM AWAY.
Say THANK YOU–gratitude always shows itself.

Maybe, just maybe, it would be ok…to let someone walk in the door in front of you or you hold the door open for someone else. I was stunned as I walked into church last Sunday and watched a teenager run in front of an elderly lady. That teenager opened the door and let it close before she could hobble through. (I had to ask God for some serious self-control right then to keep me from tackling someone in church.)

There are many others I could list…but you get the picture. This post is for me and our children first (hope they are reading it!) and then to you, the reader. If you are a Back 9’er…please join me in the crusade of BRINGING BACK MANNERS. IT TRULY IS LOVING OTHERS. (FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS ONE…IN FACT, I AM BEGGING YOU TO!)

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