Chivalry and good manners can still go a long way as we attempt to make a positive difference in society-at-large and even more when we make a good im-pression on those who most matter to us. Harold W. Dodd states, “Fundamentally, good manners are the embodiment of one’s moral respect and consideration for others.” What a great word, consideration. It’s an admirable part of character. My good friend, the late James “Cotton” Howard wrote this: “Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.” And this from Laurance “Sterne:
To have a respect for ourselves guides our morals; to have a deference for others governs our manners.”
Wouldn’t we love to see such a beneficent portrayal of this character in those who should matter, such as the political leaders of our great nation? Is it a ‘different-times, different-manners” thing? It’s sure not like it was in the ‘days of yore’ as when gallant knights and esteemed gentlemen went out of their way to save a fair damsel from any distress. Seems the patience of most folks these days is extremely short and irritability very long. Road-rage, rudeness, and rants. Really? Sam Langhorne, alias Mark Twain, had a pretty good suggestion: “It is a mistake that there is no bath that will cure people’s [bad] manners but [what] drowning would help.”
Since we always have a choice, let’s decide to at least try to smile freely, laugh often, overlook plenty, forgive quickly, talk openly, endure patiently, give cheerfully, and hug lots. A single helpful gesture toward another may lighten the load and make for smooth sailing smile after smile after smile.