- Meaning of the saying
- The habits of the civilized and courteous person
- Learning of good manners
- Behaviour of societies according to their cultural heights
- Basic principle of good manners
- Difference between good manners and mannerism
“One good turn deserves another” and “courtesy begets courtesy” are well-known and very old sayings. They mean that good manners and behaviour generate good and welcome response while bad behaviour and manners create a vicious circle. Things boomerang and return to us; it is a universal law. We have to reap what we have sown, and there is no escape. Man is known by his manners. They proclaim him as no other thing would. Courtesy costs nothing and generates a lot of goodwill, congenial atmosphere, friendliness, fellow feeling and politeness. Politeness turns away wrath and anger while rude and impolite behaviour causes a lot of harm by generating hatred, hostility, bitterness and unfriendliness.
As good wine needs no bush, so a good mannered person is recognized immediately. He is liked and welcomed by all. He is courteous, civilized, affable, helpful, cooperative and accommodating. His Samaritan habits and pleasing behaviour make him both favourite and popular. He is ever grateful for any service or help received and always eager to return it manifold. He recognizes the service or help rendered and sincerely says “thank you” as often as he can as one would the small coins in financial transitions to make the business smooth, convenient and pleasing. But his expression of these little but wonderful words is never mechanical. They well up from his heart and reflect his respect and appreciation for others. He is always courteous and considerate towards other fellow beings and gives due respect to their sentiments, ideas and concepts. A good mannered person would never hurt the feelings of other men and women. He is kind and considerate towards animals, birds and beasts too. He is a gentleman both in thought and practice.
Good manners are the external expressions of inner goodness and education. Good manners can be acquired, learned and cultivated. Among many other things, good manners form the very foundation of our culture and civilization. They distinguish us from animals and give life a new meaning and dimension. Without good manners, polite behaviour, social etiquettes and courtesies, life would lose most of its charm and zest. Good manners may be inherited as well. In good, educated and well-mannered families children imbibe good behaviour, politeness and courtesy unconsciously. When a child sees his parents, elderly members of the family behaving in a dignified but refined and polished way, he learns them automatically without many efforts. He practices them daily and sees them being practiced in the family. Refinement, courtesy, politeness etc. are the essence of civilized society. They reflect the advancement of culture, education and social intercourse. Good manners prevail in proportion to the heights of civilization attained in a given society. Good manners and civilization are closely linked and inseparable. Good manners are painstakingly taught and laboriously cultivated in all good schools and families. It is said that in olden days, the princes, princesses were sent even to courtesans to learn good manners as the former were a model of etiquettes and polite behaviour. And there is hardly any exaggeration in it. Good things should be learnt from any person. Jewels are Jewels whether they are in possession of a rich or poor man.
Communities and societies behave well or badly according to their level of cultural heights. Well-evolved societies show much regard and respect to their elders, womenfolk and children. Good manners demand that woman etc. is given precedence when they enter a train, bus or room. They urge us to stand up in the presence of elders and senior citizens; to give them berths and seats in buses and trains. They demand that we speak softly and politely, cover our faces while sneezing and never belch and yawn boorishly in society. Pakistani traditions of hospitality and social behaviour have their roots in good behavior and manners. They direct us to regard quests as goals and offer them the best.
The basic principles of good manners and etiquettes should always be followed and adhered to because they make life so pleasant, smooth and easy. Man makes manners and manners make man. They reflect each other and go together. A person without manners is a mere beast without a tail or pair of horns. They cost nothing and in return bring in so many benefits.
Good manners are both a technique and art. They can be learnt, imitated and cultivated provided one has a will. Much can be forgiven and forgotten in context of a well-mannered person for he is courteous and says “sorry” when something is done wrong by him unconsciously. Your sense of regret and sorrow mitigates the suffering and result to a large extent in the man you have wronged.
Good manners and mannerism are totally two different things. We should not confuse them. Mannerism is slavish imitation of behaviour that makes a person look laughable, unnatural and even comic. It should always be avoided. Sometimes, people develop mannerism and speak, move and behave in a very typical and whimsical way. Mannerism is soon exposed and the person from whom this originates is disliked.