The wisdom of our parents and guardians to instil in us the tradition of respect to the end of our please-and-thank-you manner is so legendary, so basically right, we taught it and insisted upon it with our children. We are quietly horrified when they don’t express their ‘manners’.
We know how important they are by how we feel when people ungraciously take us for granted, disrespecting us by ignoring the correct manner of courtesy.
We also know it, personally, when we forget our appropriate manner, or selfishly resist respecting people—usually for self-justified reasons. We feel guilty for it later.
In a relational world, our relational God has created a structure for harmonious communications; when we don’t pay homage to such a divinely-implicit structure, or we notice others not doing so, we see our world unravelling.
Our relational world spins on two words: ‘please’ and ‘thank you’—they are the inherent moral axes upon which our relational globe spins.
Our Manner And Deeper Intent
When it comes to respect, that later transforms into trust, there are words and actions, and the underlying intent behind the words and actions.
The very best of relational outcomes features implicit and volitional good manner. Dysfunctional relationships, on the other hand, are characterised by no such give, and plentiful take. Respect is scant and trust dies. Such taking is personally destructive; it doesn’t see that personal success hinges on relational success. When we place others at the front, caring enough to interact in an authentically please-and-thank-you way, respect is won through love, and trust is the reward.
We cannot help the permeation of our attitudes as they seamlessly become behaviours. When we think in a please-and-thank-you way we come across as kind, gentle, compassionate, patient, and therefore loving.
Translating Attitudes Into Behaviours
Our feeling and thinking inform our action. Our attitudes are intrinsically linked to the outworking of behaviour. We can’t help telegraph to our world how we feel.
Such basic things, in saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, are not just about saying the words; they are very much about feeling the words. When we say please do we mean to be courteous? When we say thank you do we really feel thankful?
Love in a practical world can be distilled down to two words. When we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’—and mean them—we exemplify love. When we don’t mean them we betray respect and, therefore, lose trust. It’s best that we feel pleased and thankful.
We are fooling no one when we don’t.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.