Today’s topic is inspired by a listener. A man by the name of Chris Brownell wrote in and requested that I do a show about manners. He got tired of seeing people display bad manners in public; behaving in ways that are offensive to others or otherwise not in line with social norms. Basically…people being rude, with no regard for others.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America, and families all across the country were gathering together for big family meals. I guarantee you that manners were a big deal in homes all across America yesterday.
Now on its surface, manners doesn’t sound like a real exciting topic. When I was a kid there was a lady on TV called Miss Manners and she was talking about what fork to use, when, and other fussy stuff like that, and as a kid it really turned me off to the whole concept of manners.
But you know what? Chris is right. Manners should be important to someone who is committed to being a better man today than he was yesterday. I’m not talking about the traditional definition of manners, like how to fold your napkin and stuff like that. Lets break it down a little bit.
What are manners? Manners are simply the prevailing custom of behavior that is considered polite and acceptable for a people, class, period of time etc.
That is a really vague definition. The bottom line is that there are a bunch of different manners depending on where you are and what you are doing. Manners vary from household to household, from city to city, region to region and country to country.
In each of these, it breaks down further; there are table manners, manners for conducting business, for playing sports, for dating, for driving, and everything else.
My message about manners for today is that wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, it is your obligation as a man to be aware of acceptable forms of behavior, and then act accordingly.
Why? You might ask? Why should you alter your behavior and what seems appropriate to you, just to appease the people around you? That’s a good question with a simple answer; because that’s the right thing to do.
In some cultures you are expected to belch after a meal. There are households where people fart and everybody laughs, while in other houses somebody farts and it is a great offense. In some houses you have to take your shoe’s off, and in others it doesn’t matter. In LA everybody tailgates when they are driving, and in other states you get brake checked if you get within 20 feet of the car ahead of you. There is no right or wrong to any of it, it’s just a fact that cultures vary widely among humans.
Here’s the deal; when we occupy someone else’ space, we should try our best to respect their culture and the way they do things, because that is what we would like them to do, if they enter our space.
It’s the same thing when we are in a public space. It doesn’t belong to any individual, it belongs to the public of that locality, and every locality has certain standards of acceptable behavior. It’s important to learn what these are and do our best to be respectful of them.
If you go to a ball game in America and the National Anthem is playing, every body stands up and takes their hat off and puts their hand over their heart. Thats what you should do, just to be respectful of the space you are in even if you aren’t American. But there is always some slack-jawed ignorant local that doesn’t…and that guy diminishes the experience of everyone else in the stadium around him.
If I go to another country I’m going to look around and do what the other people are doing, and be respectful of the space I’m in.
I lived in Germany for three years when I was in the Army. There were Americans like myself that tried to be respectful of that countries traditions, their manners. Then there were those that acted like stupid, arrogant, disrespectful Americans and it was embarrassing. Whenever I saw soldiers like that I would make some on the spot corrections.
This is real fundamental better man philosophy here guys. Nothing is gained by offending people or being a jerk…EVER! On the contrary, when you behave well it not only brings honor to yourself, but to your family, and the city, State or country you come from as well. It’s really just common sense isn’t it?
500 years ago if you were traveling abroad, bad manners would get you killed, it was a big deal and people were much more aware of it.
So don’t just think of manners as how to hold your butter knife, manners are a lot bigger than that. Manners are behaving well, behaving like a man in a way that is not offensive to the people around you.
Now it’s up to us, the men who want to be better men, to be an example of behavior every where we go. It’s our responsibility to demonstrate good manners and I believe it is also our responsibility to diplomatically correct bad manners when we see them. If we don’t, then who will?
Well thats it for today guys. Thank you for that Topic Chris. If you want to be like Chris and send me a topic just go to the CONTACT ALF menu tab up at the top, and write me a letter.
Now head out into the big wide world and have respect for yourself, and the people around you. Demonstrate that respect by having good manners. Make a point of behaving in a way that doesn’t needlessly offend people. Be an example for other men, and you WILL be a better man today than you were yesterday.
Now I’m going to talk about the sponsorship of this show. I’m here delivering this content for free, three times a week…because I believe in it. Listener feedback makes me keep believing in it. There are costs of time and money associated with the production of this show, and that is why I have sponsors. You can go to the Manly resource center in the menu tab up above and take a look at the various ways you can help support this show.
One I want to talk about in particular is Patreon. At Patreon you can pledge your support of this content for as little as .08 cents an episode…or as much as you want, it’s up to you. I made a video that explains how it works, just head over to patreon.com and look for my page, or click this link >> PATREON.
I would also love to see you over at the FACEBOOK page.