Do you ever forget to use the good manners your mom taught you? In a world that seems to be less and less civil and more and more rude, it’s easy for us to fall into that pattern. But as Christ-followers, our lifestyles should be markedly different, and I believe that includes good manners.
Fran had a startling conversation with her ten-year-old son, Drew, this morning, and realized that the good manners she’s been trying to teach him seem to be defeated by the influence of his school friends. She has determined to have a long talk with him tonight about the importance of manners.
Arriving at work she looks at her calendar and realizes that she has to finish her preparations for a training session tomorrow. It’s an optional session that her boss asked her to conduct. She gets her handouts together and takes them to her assistant. “Linda, these are the handouts for tomorrow’s training session. How many people are coming?”
“I’ve only gotten return calls from three people, Fran, so I don’t know for sure,” Linda replies.
“Didn’t we put a deadline for responding, Linda?” Fran asks.
“Sure; they were supposed to let us know by last Friday. But hardly anyone ever calls. I have to get on the phone and call them, and then it’s phone tag for days,” Linda shrugs.
“But it’s in the memo that they are to let us know one way or the other, right?” Fran asks again.
“Right, Fran, but they just don’t do it, that’s what I’m telling you,” Linda says.
Returning to her office, Fran flops in her chair. Talking to herself she says, “What’s happening here? Isn’t it professionally correct to return calls, respond to requests, fulfill requirements? Is that no longer the professional thing to do?”
Her friend, Louise, walks in. “Talking to yourself again, I see. Be careful when you start answering yourself.”
They chuckle. “Louise, I’m bothered. It just seems to me that manners are quickly disappearing from the scene. Nobody bothers with simple everyday manners anymore.”
“You just noticed?” Louise responds. “Why? What happened?”
Fran tells her about the episode with her son this morning, and then the realization that the professionals in their own company don’t demonstrate simple business manners.
“Well, Fran,” Louise says, “you might as well get used to it. That’s the way things are these days. Nobody seems to have time to be polite.”
“You know what, Louise—this is a place where we can shine as Christians, don’t you agree?” Fran asks.
“You mean, we can be very polite to show them up?” Louise asks.
“Not to show others up but to demonstrate the kindness and consideration of others that Jesus always had. After all, that’s what manners really are—being considerate of others,” Fran says.
“You’re right about that,” Louise agrees.
“Let’s start a campaign for good manners, what do you think?” Fran asks.
With a furrowed brow, Louise considers her request. Well, what do you think? Should we Christians start a campaign for good manners? Do they really matter?