Do manners matter? Yes, they do; however, since most parents have gone to work, children have fewer chances to sit with their parents and to learn manners from them. Although America is a melting-pot of cultures with various ideas of manners (Packer 22), and the subject of manners is complicated (Hall 185), the standard of good manners of various cultures is similar. Good manners are the same as civilized behaviors and moral etiquette that have respect, consideration, generosity, and thoughtfulness for others (Stewart 14). What goes around comes around; therefore, people should treat others as they wish to be treated themselves (Stewart 1). In fact, people would love to be with others who have good manners (Brandenberg 2).
Therefore, manners should be taught in the twenty-first century because they not only help people become educated and competitive, but they also help the world become peaceful and smooth. First of all, people are more educated and competitive if they have good manners. Ladies and gentlemen who have good manners appear more educated, creditable, and superior than other ill-mannered people. Dr. Sokolosky believes, “all things being equal in terms of skills and abilities, the person who leaves a good, positive impression will come out on top” (Ricketts, par. 9), which means in a group of people who have equal skills, the one who has good manners will be the winner; thus, good manners can improve one’s competitiveness. Moreover, my Professor Eadus said that manners are the biggest part of social skill, which is true because good manners affect people’s interpersonal relationships and social communications. In fact, dining has been a principal social event in people’s lives; therefore, good table manners are essential and conducive to show one’s education while erroneous table manners can cause punishment by mothers, embarrassment in front of friends, or being dumped by dates (Packer 268).
I have had one of the most embarrassing experiences in my life. When I was young, I used to play with my food and hold my knife and fork incorrectly until one day I dropped my whole piece of steak on the woman who was sitting at the next table. At that moment, I was totally embarrassed and frightened while the woman yelled at me and said I was a rude kid. After that, I went to borrow some books to learn table manners. “The way you handle yourself at the table gives off very clear signals as to what kind of a person you are” (Cooper, par. 1); consequently, when people are eating with their fingers, making noises, and talking loudly, others may think they are barbarous and strange (Hall 185). Good table manners are one of the forms that show a lady or a gentleman has an educated and noble mind. As a result, good manners should be taught because it can improve people’s educations and competitiveness. Secondly, the world would be more peaceful and smooth if people exhibit good manners. “Please” and “Thank you” are the key words which can show ones respect and appreciation when others help (Ricketts, par.
1). Besides, it is necessary to teach children that saying polite words and phrases can help society become more pleasant and peaceful (Klicka, par. 7). Children are exhibiting their respect, consideration, and thoughtfulness by saying “please” when they want someone to help them, or saying “thank you” when they receive gifts or services from others (Klicka, par. 7). Good manners, etiquette, and civility not only make people feel good, but the sentiment they provide can also make the world peaceful when people treat others politely. As the author of the article “The Anthropology of Manners” – Edward T.Hall – claims, “nobody is continually aware of the quality of his own voice” (Hall 187). Since most people are not aware of the qualities of their voices, practicing and using polite words and phrases every day can help them to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding or violence. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy” (“Manners Quotes,” par. 4), which means people are encouraged to use and practice etiquette and civility every day. Bad manners encourage violence; in contrast, good manners encourage peace.
Stephen Wessler, who is an executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence at the University of Southern Maine, believes that hate speech (bad manners) can lead to violence (Maranto, par.5). For example, in the case of Doug Hann, if his friend had not prevented the pursuit by the freshmen who were insulted by Hann, it might have incurred violence (Hower 153). If the culture is summed up by the manners as Professor Hall indicates, then the culture is the frame of reference for all behavior (Hall 185); therefore, good manners and behavior are requisited for summing up a pleasant culture. On the contrary, as stated by Robert A. Heinlein, “A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.
Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters [sic]. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot…” (“Manners Quotes,” par. 2). Therefore, good manners should be taught because they improve the peace of the world. In conclusion, teaching manners is necessary in the twenty-first century because they can not only improve people’s education and competitiveness, but they can also improve the world’s peace. Manners should be taught since the culture of manners is gradually diminishing. Nowadays, most children neither understand how to respect themselves or others nor comprehend why they need to have manners and respect. As Laurence Sterne says, “respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners” (“Manners Quotes,” par. 12).