I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it sure seems to me that good manners are in short supply these days. Just plain, ordinary, everyday manners. Well, our friend Fran has a few run-ins with poor manners this week; let’s see how she handles it.
Her son, Drew, now ten years old, walks into the kitchen where Fran is preparing breakfast. “Hey, mom, give me some money for school,” he says.
“Excuse me,” Fran replies. “What did you say?”
“I said give me some money for school; I need some lunch money,” he repeats.
“That’s what I thought you said,” Fran answers. “Drew, where are your manners? That’s not the way you ask for something, is it?”
“Oh, you mean I have to say please. Okay. . . puleese give me some money for school,” he replies in a smart-aleck way.
“Drew, I’ve taught you to have better manners than that. What’s gotten into you lately? You have to be reminded to say please and thank you . . . those are basic manners that you must remember, Drew.”
“Why?” he asks. “None of my friends say please and thank you.”
“Now, that’s not true, Drew. I know some of your friends, and their mothers have taught them to be polite, too,” Fran says.
“Well, maybe at church, but not at school,” Drew responds. “You know Alex—he says lots of bad things at school.”
“Alex Griffin?” Fran is astonished. Alex is the son of a wonderful couple at church and he has always behaved very well around her. “I find that hard to believe, Drew. He’s always very polite to me.”
“Yeah, ‘cause his mom’s around and he has to be,” Drew answers.
“Then does that mean that you are polite and nice only when I am around?” Fran asks, almost afraid to hear the answer.
Drew’s head drops and he pauses. “Well, sometimes, but I’m not as bad as Alex.”
“Drew, tonight you and I are going to have a long talk about manners and why they are important,” Fran informs him. “It’s one thing to go behind your mom’s back and do things you shouldn’t do, but you can’t go behind Jesus’ back. He sees and hears everything you do and say. Do you think he is pleased when you are rude; when you don’t have good manners like you’ve been taught?”
Drew shrugs his shoulders, unsure how to respond to that. But Fran doesn’t get the feeling that she has made her point with him. “Remember, tonight you and I have a long talk.”
As she drives to work, tears trickle down Fran’s cheeks thinking about what Drew said. “Oh, Lord, how do you raise kids in this sick world to be decent people? How can I teach my children even the most basic everyday manners and help them see that they are important? Am I just overreacting? Am I just outdated? Oh, Lord, please give me wisdom and guidance.”
Manners—have you let yours slip lately? Does it matter if you do? After all, not many people have good manners these days. Should a Christian worry about it?