The term, ‘Good Manner’, is usually defined as “socially acceptable behaviour”. This, however, is not a satisfactory definition. For “socially acceptable behaviour” may quite possibly consist of a set of insincere decorative conventions just a superficial or artificial show? A better definition would be “A pleasing social behaviour proceeding from sincere respect and considerations for others”. Here, “consideration” may be described as “imaginative sympathy”, or “extrospection”, a sincere desire to see into the minds of others and to share their feelings.
The possession of good manners is the mark of civilized person. The titles, “gentleman” and “lady” can be applied only to people with good manners. People without good manners are despised as uncultured barbarians. Persons with good manners are respectful towards their superiors, courteous towards their equals, kind and considerate towards their inferiors. There is an elegant decorum in their social behaviour.
Children should be trained in good manners at home: and the teaching of good manners should be an integral component of education at school and college. The consequences of the neglect of training in good manners are noticeable all around us. Everywhere we find men and women who call themselves “educated”, but are absolutely without good manners.
These people are totally self-centred, and care nothing for the rights, or feelings, or convenience of others. They hate standing in a queue. They push and shove aside everybody else in order to get into a bus or train first, occupy the first available seats and refuse to give them up to ladies or frail, old people. At public dinners and tea-parties they display absymal ignorance of civilized table manners; they do not know how to use forks, spoons or knives; they eat the food like voracious cormorant, producing pig like noise while chewing food with their mouths open and spitting right and left at intervals.
They have no inhibitions about yawning without covering their mouths or about picking their noses or ears, even in the midst of people. There are innumerable other ways in which these people offended civilized society, and earn for themselves the name of savage barbarians. All this show how important it is for everyone to learn good manners.