The Belief in Etiquette
I believe in manners. Being born in to a large Italian family we were always eating. My parents would be constantly frustrated with us kids for doing things that were inappropriate at the dinner table. Often I hated listening to them so much; I was repeatedly excused from dinner. Consequently, I was unable to finish eating my dinner, and would not get to eat dessert. As a child growing up with my three older brothers I was constantly punished for bad behavior. My parents swore by disciplinary action when manners were not practiced. Even though as a child I disagreed and hated my parent’s firmness on enforcing manners, I now understand why they did so. My parents wanted my brothers and me to be well rounded, mindful and respectful men.
There have been many instances in my life that people made fools of themselves because of their lack of manners. One specific occasion is about my girlfriend’s cousin Jullie. Jullie currently resides in Chicago; every summer after school is out she comes to California to visit for a couple weeks. This last summer I was introduced to her. When I met her she seemed very pleasant however that was not the case. One morning my girlfriend, Jullie, and I all went to Denny’s for an early breakfast. Our waitress took our orders and left us to talk amongst ourselves while we waited for our food. Although our breakfast took much longer than expected to arrive at our table, we were all ready to eat when the food finally arrived. Everything looked delicious, but not to Jullie. Jullie didn’t like the way the food laid on the plate. She insisted on not only complaining about her breakfast, but making a scene by playing with her food. All this commotion and embarrassment was because it wasn’t perfect. I told her to let it go; it’s not that big of a deal. Jullie persisted on complaining about her food to the point that I had to step in and give her a talk about how we handle situations calmly and quietly without yelling.
Today you don’t see manners like you used to. I am an advocate of manners, my parents taught me well. Being mindful of manners gets you much further with a lot of people. One day I will pass the lessons I have learned on to my children. One thing to always remember: “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.” -Arthur Schopenhauer
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