Just very recently I watched the film Kingsman: The Secret Service, with a brilliant Colin Firth who teaches some young fellows a lesson in Manners Maketh Man in a pub - of course with just an umbrella and without even breaking a sweat.
I would have probably not quite chosen the same approach but here it does seem highly effective.
I am outing myself now not only as a Colin Firth fan but also as absolutely old school as well as a hopeless romantic. I am also a sucker for chivalry and good manners, believing they are not (completely) dead!
“Chivalry is not just a fancy word with a neat meaning; it's a way of life.” — Vaughn Ripley
In search of the origin of the proverb “Manners Maketh Man”, I found two references:
A person can be judged by his or her manners. The saying is attributed to William of Wykeham (1324-1404); it is the motto of the school, Winchester College, and New College, Oxford, both of which he founded. (source: https://idiomorigins.org/)
The origin of the proverb ‘manners maketh man’ is often said to be in the writings of a man called William Horman, who lived between 1440 and 1535. Horman was the headmaster at Eton School in England and he also taught at Winchester School in England.
Horman wrote a book known as the ‘Vulgaria’: the book’s title is a Latin word, which can be loosely translated as ‘everyday sayings’ or ‘common sayings’. Widely attested to be his most important work, the Vulgaria is a collection of common proverbs, and among them is ‘manners maketh man’.
However, the principle behind the Vulgaria is that Horman was writing down proverbs that were already in common use. Thus, it is very likely that this proverb was already popular in Britain before Horman wrote it down: it may have been in existence for centuries before Horman was born. (source: https://imp.center/i)
But no matter where it originates from, I believe it to be true and still very much applicable.
“A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I never have found that there is a necessity to be rude or impolite in any way. There are actually very polite ways to make your standpoint absolutely clear without slipping into rudeness or stooping to a level you do not want to be on.
It may not be fashionable for many anymore but manners do matter! Being a woman I enjoy and want a man to hold the door for me, to help me into my coat and no, I do not take these kind gestures for granted - ever. I always acknowledge good manners and I especially watch how a man treats the people around him. That tells you so much more about that person than their words and possible pretences ever will. Admittedly for me this does not only apply to men, it applies to everyone I spend time with and of course to myself. I simply prefer surrounding myself with well mannered, polite and respectful people - perhaps I am a snob. Despite what most may think, I believe that good manners and behaviour have little to do with social status. I have met many people in my life who are high up on the social ladder and are characterised by a complete lack of good manners and vice versa. Manners Maketh Man has a lot to do with the attitude towards other people and also with how one sees oneself. For me it is one of the most important values in dealing with others.
“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.” — Clarence Thomas
I know there may be a lot of confusion nowadays about gender roles and I can and will, as always, only speak for myself. I have taught my now 18 year old son that a girl or woman (as well as others around him) should always be treated with respect and kindness, and you might be surprised that he is not a wuss. Ok, truth be told, I am usually not there when he goes out with a girl but I at least gave him the manners that maketh a man. I gave my daughter the same values I gave my son and it has made their lives easier and a lot more pleasant.
“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” — Fred Astaire
I also believe that good manners are never outdated, on the contrary. In this fast paced world it is one of the values that will never loose relevance in how we interact with one another. And quite honestly, I for my part prefer to be treated like a queen by a man than like one of his mates - that’s what he has friends for!
“Treat other like you want to be treated!” We have all heard people say that and quite frankly it never made much sense to me and I believe this to be a great misconceptions. I know people that say this mean well but let’s be honest, it’s a load of rubbish if you think of it!
Just imagine there is a masochist, someone who enjoys torture and pain, physically and mentally, who takes this to heart. Would you, assuming you're not a masochist, want to be treated as such? Yes, I am using a rather rash example, but I am trying to make a point here so cut me some slack.
So, does it not make much more sense to treat others as they want to be treated?
No matter what, I believe a good start, when you do not yet know someone, is always kindness and respect. I feel that there is a huge lack of this, especially in the past 20 months, where society has been divided and people have been turned against each other to an extent that is simply terrifying.
I will be the first to admitt that sometimes it is a real challenge to stay kind, respectful and well mannered. And as we are all just human beings it is absolutely normal and possibly healthy to loose it sometimes.
“Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.” — Charles Kingsley
This does not only address men but all mankind - Manners Maketh Man, Woman and Child!
🎶My Songs of the Week
Is this stunningly beautiful song by Eric Bibb which I hope you enjoy…
📚My Poem of the Week
Is by Elisabeth Bishop (1911-1979). She was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956 and a National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 1970.
For a Child of 1918
My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
"Be sure to remember to always
speak to everyone you meet."
We met a stranger on foot.
My grandfather's whip tapped his hat.
"Good day, sir. Good day. A fine day."
And I said it and bowed where I sat.
Then we overtook a boy we knew
with his big pet crow on his shoulder.
"Always offer everyone a ride;
don't forget that when you get older,"
my grandfather said. So Willy
climbed up with us, but the crow
gave a "Caw!" and flew off. I was worried.
How would he know where to go?
But he flew a little way at a time
from fence post to fence post, ahead;
and when Willy whistled he answered.
"A fine bird," my grandfather said,
"and he's well brought up. See, he answers
nicely when he's spoken to.
Man or beast, that's good manners.
Be sure that you both always do."
When automobiles went by,
the dust hid the people's faces,
but we shouted "Good day! Good day!
Fine day!" at the top of our voices.
When we came to Hustler Hill,
he said that the mare was tired,
so we all got down and walked,
as our good manners required.
Morning mood from my balcony a few days ago while I was sipping a cup of hot tea!
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