George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation. As known as a master military strategist and of course, our 1st president, George Washington has been easily and without question nominated as the original “Tactical Gentleman”.
As we begin our journey to restore the lost art of manners and civilized actions, I felt a fitting place to being the journey would be by taking a look, each week, at the lesson given to us by our founding father. I’m not asking for all of you to change your lives in one week, but each day…pause and try to take this lesson into account and better not only yourself, but those around you. Much like training at the range, these take habit. Over time, it will become natural. Ok, let’s roll…
Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior Behavior In Company and Conversation: Rule #1
Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
To me, this is simple. Be respectful of those around you. Be mindful of the people who’s company you keep. If your in church, don’t be vulgar. If you have a religious friend, you know that makes them uncomfortable. Simply be courteous and respectful…especially in public settings. I rarely get involved with people I don’t know in public settings. However, there were two times recently where I couldn’t avoid being direct. The first time was in line at wal-mart. Two teenagers were waiting in line in front of me. In front of them was an elderly woman with her granddaughter. The language of these two teens was so vulgar that even I stopped in awe. I mean, come on people, this is a public setting. I could tell it was upsetting the elderly lady and it’s just stupid to use that language in front of a child. I simply told them to show some respect and be mindful of who they are around.
The 2nd time was at a crowded restaurant during lunch. Having dinner with my friends, I was sitting across the room from three military members in uniform. They were loud and obnoxious and speaking in great and vulgar detail about what their sexual conquests were going to be for the weekend. I looked around the room and could see the annoyance of the people around them. I mean, these guys were IN UNIFORM. People only see the name of the military branch on their. Now they associate the service with these clown’s behavior. I walked over there and told them they were being impolite to everyone else in the room and given their age and wardrobe, they ought carry themselves with an element of decorum. After my verbal dress down, the oldest member at the table acknowledged that I was right, apologized, and then went over to the 3 tables around them and personally apologized for his and his companies behavior.
After I was done, I left the restaurant and the young man came running out after me. My first thought was “battle time”, but he just wanted to re-iterate his shame and that if his Mom had seen how he was acting that she would have slapped him and he knew better. It was a real stand up moment for that young man to take ownership.
So, be polite. Be courteous. But most importantly, be mindful of where you are and who’s around. Be mindful of your cell phone conversations in public. Be respectful of those around…they don’t want to hear EVERYTHING. Treat everyone with respect and dignity, from the guy in a suit to the lady behind the register. Say good morning, thank you, please, and good night. Be polite, friendly and helpful. Don’t just focus on yourself and your own needs and problems; apply this to public, work, and home. It will make you a better man. Those around you will take notice. This is how we start bringing back civility to this country.