Monday, December 31, 2012

Best & Worst Manners Moments 2012

Nothing screams “end-of-the-year” more than a recap of the best and worst moments that have managed to encapsulate the past twelve months.  This year was chock full of bad behavior with some of our most public figures going down the road of ruin due to some thoughtless actions or words that spread like wildfire and tarnished their futures. On the flipside, we did see our fair share of exemplary behavior that gave us a glimmer of hope and managed to lift us out of the depths of despair.  It appears there must always be a little yin with the yang. I suppose if we didn’t have a brash Honey Boo Boo to degrade us, we wouldn’t have such an appreciation for the elegance and poise of the royal family.  Just in time, our best and worst manners moments of 2012.  What struck us as either praiseworthy or a cautionary tale. 

The Famous & Infamous
Best: The Royal Family.  The Royals had a remarkable year and managed to handle every single event with grace from the Summer Olympics to the Diamond Jubilee and most recently the Royal Pregnancy of Kate Middleton & Prince William.
Worst: Honey Boo Boo.  This year brought us up close and personal with Honey Boo Boo and her Georgia clan.  The TLC reality series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” quickly turned into a phenomenon and the world became instantly fascinated with their slovenly, outrageous, no holds barred behavior.

On the Political Front
Best: First Lady Michelle Obama. A consistent picture of calm, beauty and good health, the First Lady helped lead the President to a second term while simultaneously maintaining her own initiatives for childhood obesity, educational reform and work-life balance.
Worst: General David Petraeus.  The Director of the CIA was forced to resign from his position due to an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell that created a storm of controversy and embarassing scandal for the U.S.

Picture of Health
Best: Robin Roberts.  The beloved co-anchor for Good Morning America took an extended medical leave earlier this year to undergo a bone marrow transplant.  Throughout her ordeal, she has been a picture of poise, with only smiles and positive messages for her fans. She has officially reached her 100 day milestone and we wish her continued good health and a speedy return to the job she loves.
Worst: Jessica Simpson.  We commiserate with the difficulties of keeping weight off and the battle to be thin, but we didn’t exactly see Miss Jessica tip the scales in a positive direction during her time with Weight Watchers and now with her newest bundle to be, the task may become even harder. 

In the Media
Best: Anne Hathaway.  Her “Les Mis” premiere was trumped only by the case of her missing panties.  While we highly recommend checking your undergarments before you leave the house, we do think Miss Anne conducted herself with the utmost dignity during in her live interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show when she cited the incident by saying how unfortunate it is that we live in a culture that “commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants” and tied the whole thing beautifully into a segue back her character Fantine in the movie.
Worst: Donald Trump.  The real-estate magnate should know better.  He is a public figure who has mistakenly used his position to espouse his every personal thought on record and on social media without any type of self-censorship.  His reckless tweets during the presidential campaign commented him as a buffoon that should not be taken seriously.

Divorced Couples
Best: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.  While we all saw it coming, no one could have foreseen how swiftly and under-the-radar this mega-celebrity divorce was handled.  There were no public fingers being pointed, no custody battles over precious Suri, only Scientology rumors to contend with. 
Worst: Christy Brinkley and Peter Cook.  This divorce has not gone away as quietly and Christy Brinkley’s sobbing interview pleading her case on The Today Show didn’t help matters.  Peter Cook may be a big fat jerk, but Christy would do better to keep her model game face on and show only the picture of smiles and happiness for the camera.

Our Star Athletes
Best: The U.S. female Summer Olympiads.  They not only won 58 medals, but they succeeded in winning over the hearts of the American public with their grace, their tenacity and their unwavering courage.
Worst: Lance Armstrong. The champion cyclist suffered major embarrassment and shame this year from doping allegations used to enhance his performance.  He lost three major sponsorships and was asked to step down as the chairman of the Livestrong charity he founded in 1997 to inspire cancer survivors and their families.

Man/Woman on the Street
Best: Lawrence DePrimo.  The New York Police Officer who took it upon himself to buy a pair of boots for a homeless man on a freezing cold night in NYC. He wasn’t thinking about the cost, only human decency was at work here.  This random act of kindness sparked national interest and massive support.
Worst: Patricia Krentcil. The New Jersey mother known for her perpetually dark complexion was charged with child endangerment when she tried to impose her bizarre struggle with tanning onto her 6 year old daughter by taking her to a tanning booth for a session.     

Manners Resolutions for 2013

Where did the year go?  If I had a dollar for every time I heard this question asked in the past month, I’d be a wealthy lady!  It seems the world is in agreement that time is passing at a breakneck speed and that our lives are becoming more and more complicated and less calm with each year.  The thought of sitting down and giving thoughtful consideration to our New Year’s Resolutions seems like a daunting task that requires way too much time and effort.  But the truth of the matter is, it is more dire now than ever.  If we don’t stop and give ourselves the luxury and benefit of this annual exercise, we are cheating ourselves out of a very important opportunity to clean the slate and begin anew.  

While you may have already begun writing your laundry list of resolutions for better health, better budgeting and better productivity in the New Year, we hope you’ll reserve a few spots on your list for better manners in 2013.   

1. Smile and be friendly.  Resolve to smile and be friendly with everyone you interact with this year.  Whether it’s a parent you pass in the hallway at school or the checkout attendant in the grocery store, everyone deserves a little acknowledgement.  It is not much effort, but makes such a huge difference.

2. Make a good impression on yourself first.  Take the time this year to focus on your health and well-being both physically as well as mentally.   Strive to be a bit more organized and efficient so that you can be your most effective self both personally and professionally. 

3. Be a good listener.  Humans thrive on relationships and connections with others.  One way to cultivate and nurture your communications with friends and relatives is to be a good listener.  This is the key to all great conversationalists. 
4  Choose to be optimistic.  We are beginning a new year, a clean slate, an opportunity for complete renewal.  Why not choose to proceed into these next twelve months with total and undeniable optimism.  Remember a positive and optimistic attitude is most mannerly and assures a successful outcome in anything we endeavor to do. 

5. Use your table manners.  Many of life’s pleasures and special moments revolve around the table and dining experience.  This year, aspire to be a bit more mindful of your table manners.  Begin with the most simple of tasks such as refraining from talking with your mouth full of food or putting your elbows on the table.  Make sure to sit up straight for good posture and say please and thank you when being served.  For goodness sakes, no cell phones at the table! 

6. Give thanks and appreciate.  We cannot say enough about taking a moment to be thankful and to appreciate what you have.  At a time when many are experiencing personal economic turmoil or major life crisis, it is more important than ever to try to find a glimmer of light and to acknowledge what you do have that is positive and encouraging.

7. Take a breath and think before you act.  This is so vitally important and can save a lot of heartache and headache.  We’ve all heard the expression “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” meaning everything we do has a positive or negative effect on one another.  Before you behave in a way that might upset or offend another, take a moment to think about how they might feel and choose to do the right thing.

8. Be courteous and patient.  We live in a 24/7, frenetic, automated world where common courtesies and human decency in general are threatening extinction.  Do your part to change the tide and make 2013 a year where you are more polite and patient.  From the people you stand in line with at Starbucks or share the carpool lane with on your way to work, to the caretakers who watch after your children and your families with whom you share a meal, aspire to be more considerate and a little more tolerant.

9. Be cautious with electronic communications.  Show some restraint before you type, text, post or Tweet.  Understand that everything you put in writing electronically is permanent and privacy does not exist.  Too many people have suffered major consequences due to careless communications.  Not thinking before you send an electronic message can ruin a career or sever a personal relationship.  Send only positive thoughts, comments or photos electronically.  Anything unflattering should be dealt with in person.

10. Don’t be stingy with the magic words.  The most commonly used magic words are: please, thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.  Use these words frequently and without discretion and witness firsthand a transformation from those who hear them.  Notice how a few kind words can help brighten someone’s day.