Monday, January 19, 2015

Manners Monday - #DareToBePolite - The Final Frontier

As we approach the final days of our #daretbepolite campaign, I’d like to leave you with this thought: manners are the final frontier. At a time in history, where so much turmoil, disruption and distraction persists, where are we to turn, but to manners for some semblance of order, direction and calm.  They are, in essence, the last stop.  We are in more need than ever of a framework to capture all of the craziness and restore a sense of stability and substance.  While brushes of good behavior certainly exist, the #daretobepolite mission is more about daring society to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before,’ breaking out of the molds and misperceptions about manners to make them more authentic, accessible and accepting on an ongoing basis.  This is the space I would like to explore further.  One in which we hold ourselves accountable first before we start pointing fingers at everyone else, where we are more mindful of our own words and actions before we so willingly dissect those around us, and where we can still have fun, enjoy life, crack jokes and be witty without causing offense, harm or outrage to others.

As we’ve said time and again, manners touch every facet, every minutia and every molecule of our lives. They exist between the cracks, and like glue, they are the adhesive that hold everything together.  If left unused, the adhesive dries and renders itself ineffective leaving behind only chaos to follow.  It can be something as massive and weighty as the Sony debacle where the public was privy to private email communications that caused shame and embarrassment to top executives in the entertainment industry or as small and silly as the recent ‘manspreading’ epidemic accusing men of taking up too much space in their seats.  It can be something as deadly serious as the Charlie Hebdo massacre where two men launched terror on the Parisian satirical magazine challenging the right and respect for freedom of speech or as insanely ridiculous as the invoice that was sent to a family for their child’s failing to attend a friend’s birthday party.  Manners, or the lack thereof, affect us both at home and in our world and they all boil down to something very simple – RESPECT. 

So whether you’re twisted with agony over how to apologize to your mother-in-law, racked with worry about which fork to use for your fish course or riddled with guilt as to the best way to decline your boss’ advances, manners are your finest friend.  They are there to save you from your worst self, to fall back on in your time of need, and to protect you in the most precarious of situations. They are locked and loaded ready to employ at a moment’s notice. Use them wisely and they will keep you whole.

Step 3/Week 3: Manners: The Final Frontier.  Rather than limit ourselves to just one more week of practice, take the remaining ten days of January to reflect on everything we’ve covered these last few months. Turn up the heat index on your manners and share with us what you observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the final vow to #daretobepolite!  

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