By Dorothea “Dot” Kham, Monterey, MA, Aug. 1, 2022 – Although most of the miraculous, time-saving, inventions that have pushed themselves into our modern American lives since the dishwasher are more annoyance than assistance, the Internet is the greatest thing since sliced-bread because email did to the telephone what the phone call did to the knock-on-the-door – made it obsolete, if not make it go away altogether.
Now it seems that most new mothers work away from home, which means mothering gets contracted out to professionals in infant, toddler, nursery, and pre-k care, consequence of which is that good manners are as extinct as the passenger pigeon. Care professionals are not allowed to inculcate good manners with the same authority that mothers possess by natural right, with kitchen paddles and other domestic objects in ready reserve. Mothers know how to wield power without firing a shot – which does not entirely obviate the rare corporal correction!
Irregardless, back to doorbells and phone calls – forget what you think about the attraction of opposites, because good manners says like follows like.
- Text message requires a text reply;
- Email message requires an email reply;
- Voicemail invites a call back;
- Postal mail invites a reply by post,
- Gifts by post require handwritten, mailed thank-you notes.
Schools are good at all sorts of instruction, but are no substitute for home as the ideal place to be taught to be thoughtful, kind, polite, and considerate of others. That, pretty much, is why we came up with the construct of family in the first place. Good manners is essential social lubricant, without it, society sputters to a creaking, smoking halt – same as your SUV will w/o oil.