Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good manners make people happy

Remember when children had good manners? Watch this Thanksgiving video just to jog your memory. Remember matching sweaters? Remember "happy times"? Aren't you glad you know what to do with a napkin? Holidays are fun.

And aren't you glad, now that you've watched the video, that you live in the 21st century? We still need good manners, but surely they go beyond which fork to use and how to eat food easily without noise and neatly without spots. Rather, good manners require us to understand, honour, accept and include very different protocols from different cultures. Good manners in the 21st century demand that we are deeply aware that there are some who are unhappy, not because they have poor table manners, but because they have no food on their table. Food makes people happy. And good manners in the 21st century go beyond offering thanks for our food to offering help to those who have none. Good manners are much more difficult in the 21st century. The new manners are less tidy, neat, and nice - but they are desperately needed for peace in our time and a sustainable future.