Good manners are an evidence of good breeding,ó and a testimony that the inoculation "took." One may have good manners without being a gentleman, but one cannot be a gentleman without having them.
Bad manners are an evidence of selfishness and coarseness; of crucleness and intolerance.
An educated man should have good manners. Little excuse exists for the lack of them. But alas, and alack! Some folk seem to think that good manners are a weakness, rather than an element of strength; that bad manners are a proof of vigor, of power, of ability to rule. Fie upon such crooked thinking!
Bad manners are sand in any bearing. An over-bearing, gruff, unmannerly attitude toward ones fellows is the greatest promoter of resentment and opposition; the surest way to build up a most difficult obstacle in personal relations.
Bad manners are often a result of thoughtlessness. But this really is a form of selfishness. With this quality, one is inconsiderate of the rights, or even the comfort of other people; one is lacking in evidences of respect.
Let me ask a question about campus incidents. What are the reasons for the unmannerly practice in the following instances? Is it thoughtlessness or carelessness?
I view the entrances to campus buildings, and see crowds of students momentarily relaxing between classes. They are grouped all over the walks and passageways, blocking entrance and exit. Anyone entering or leaving a building must elbow his way thru this crowd, dodging here and there to avoid collisions with men who might just as well stand six feet to the right or six feet to the left, or, for that matter, forty feet down the line.
A student enters his instructor's office without removing
his hat. Or, he accosts the instructor with a "Hello," squeezed out of
one corner of his mouth, while the other corner holds a death grip upon
In casual conversation, I not infrequently hear reference to "the old man." Thank goodness I have not heard about "the old woman!"
A person battling his way along the walk, counter to the major stream, is buffeted unmercifully unless he is lively in stepping into whatever the space along-side providesóbushes, mud, dust.
Car drivers edge in on traffic lines, or up over crossings, where they have no rights, in order to re-gain by rushing what they have lost by laziness.
Don't mistake me. I am not considering the effect produced upon the objective of the unmannerliness,--the fellow who receives it. It doesn't hurt him, beyond a scratch. My dignity does not suffer serious affront from a bump, or a puff of smoke. But the man who is lacking in good conduct, I am talking to him, about the effect upon himself. His cut-off comes too early in his stroke. He is not doing him-self justice. He is imposing upon himself a handicap which will make him less productive and his life less enjoyable, and will render success more difficult of attainment. Why not be polite, and have the quiet satisfactions which attend self-respect?
Lincoln was mildly derided one time for saluting a negro laborer who had doffed his cap to the president.
He replied, "Am I to be outdone in politeness by a lowly