I have to be the last person to see “The Blind Side.” Just released yesterday in DVD, I scurried home at 8 pm from a civic meeting to settle in and give my full attention to this award-winning movie. Not only was Sandra Bullock fabulous, but the young man playing Michael Oher was kind and well-mannered. He grew up with no father and his mother was a drug addict. How in the world did he know to neatly fold the bedding sheets after spending the night on the family’s couch? My goodness, the young man had never before even had a bed! There were countless times where he produced courtesy, respect and good manners.
My favorite part of the movie was the Thanksgiving scene. Let me start with saying this family had every financial resource available, a beautiful home, cars and a huge dining room table. At dinner time, the family all sat down in front of the television to eat and watch football. All but Michael. He was sitting alone at the large dining room table. He had seen a Norman Rockwell picture of a family sitting together at a table for a holiday and he wanted to feel that connection. Quickly realizing their error, the family joined him at the table complete with food served “family style.”
How do we expect our kids to learn table manners, how to have a conversation with others or even who we are and what we think if we don’t take the time for a meal–no TV and at a table with silverware? A few months ago I taught an etiquette class to a group of area high school kids. They were the most well-behaved and inquisitive high school group I have had. I taught Table Manners 101 and then they were served a formal meal in order to practice their new skills. While walking around to answer questions I realized they were fumbling with the knife and fork. As cutting meat is one of my top pet peeves, I was certain to have them master this skill. Some of them just couldn’t overcome the awkwardness of handling the silverware. For days I pondered why…then realized that kids today are unwrapping their food, their fast food, they are not using a knife and fork.
With our busy lives packed with sports, music lessons, TV shows, cell phones, test messaging during meals and fast food dinners, I have proof that our kids are in our “Blind Side.” It is time to produce our own award-winning movie at home.Best regards,
I love the “Tuna” guys! I was thrilled to attend the Saturday afternoon “Tuna Does Vegas”show with my family. Here are a few etiquette tips for the next show -
1. Please don’t take both arm rests. Sharing is nice.
2. Leave your cell phone in the car. A woman on the other side of the arm rest hugger, asked if she had turned off her phone, she replied, “no it is in my purse, but don’t worry, no one will call me.” So why bring it in?
3. When you come in late and it is dark, you are blocking the view while you are looking for your seat. Not to mention that people who were there on time have to be interrupted and stand up to let you in.
4. While standing at your seat during the short intermission, please don’t sway back and forth and hit the person in front of you in the head with your coat sleeves.
5. The good etiquette news – everyone paid attention, no distracting whisperers and we all laughed out loud!
Great job, as usual, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams.Best regards,
On March 4, 2010 the YOU! section 20/40/60 question was asking if “manners are passe? ” I loved Lille-Beth’s answer regarding “The Associated Press Stylebook.” If you missed it, she talks about journalistic consistency in writing that allows one to concentrate upon what is being said, rather than focusing on spelling or grammatical errors that detract from the story. She applies this same consistency to manners. ”If you have good manners, even if they go unnoticed, people can enjoy your company without a negative distraction. ”
The use of the word “distraction” or lack thereof in regards to etiquette, was used by the Queen of Etiquette, Emily Post. She notes that good etiquette allows one to be comfortable in another’s presence. When we know what to expect from each other we are comfortable, allowing each person to focus upon the goal of the meeting. Could it be a potential client, your future in-laws or a job interview? We are all selling something to someone, so why not give yourself the best shot at the sale?
I have been writing about George Washington and his 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour.” Many of his “rules” are about being distracting with your hands, feet, humming and nail biting. I am amazed that those issues were alive in early business. Many times during business meals I become distracted by someone blowing their nose at the table, loudly stabbing their lettuce or playing with their hair. When those things are happening, I simply cannot focus on the purpose of the meeting. Honestly, the H1N1 germ scare makes these habits even more distracting! For example, at an evening business meeting, I walked up to shake a man’s hand just as he sneezed into his right hand. I didn’t even hear his name because I could only think about washing my hand. Bingo – distracted! If you sneeze, do it in the left hand, not the one you use to shake.
In this economic downturn, when competition is high, we all need to be at our best in the business world. Please take a few minutes and contemplate what things you might be doing that are distracting others from seeing you in top form.Best regards,