He KNEW he should not have the hat on – at least I knew it and that was enough for me.
The boy sat down at the table with the ball cap securely in place. Out of respect for my grandmother, who would NEVER have allowed something like that at the table, I quickly took the cap off and set it on the back of the chair. I did not make a scene. My assumption was that he had forgotten that cap was in place and I was trying to head off any ruckus it might cause.
That one action caused a firestorm that left the parent of that child not speaking to me for months.
Have we lost our since of etiquette in today’s society of technology, fast food meals, and fast paced lives?
There was a time when being courteous to others (and for others) was an important part of the journey. I think it should still be - and I continue to try to teach my sons the power that comes from proper etiquette. It is not about being proper or being better that others. It is all about making others feel comfortable and valued.
8 Etiquette Tips for Today
1. Step away from other people to make a phone call or even to send a text. If it is important enough to do then it is important enough to take a moment to step away from the present company and do it.
2. Say excuse me or sorry. When technology interrupts what you are doing, acknowledge the importance of the person you are with by giving an apology.
3. Do NOT put people on hold. “Hold” tells the person that the exchange is not important or that the next exchange is more important. Remove call-waiting from your phone or refuse to use it.
4. Send a thank you note. Notes do not come in electronic form but require actually paper and pen. Taking a few minutes to write a thank you, then taking the time to mail a thank you, will show the person your great appreciation.
5. Take off the hat. It shows respect for the location, the person or the activity.
6. Be quiet during the pledge and the prayer. Any noise should be participation only!
7. Push the pause button on the television or game when someone tries to speak to you. It places the person above the electronics.
8. Say YES or NO – preferably with a ma’am or sir attached. At least take the time to create a complete word instead of mumbling a response.
Not too long after the Thanksgiving fiasco, I had the opportunity to sit in on a local court case. A man came into the court room and sat down in the galley. Out of nowhere, a deputy popped up from behind a wall and pointed the hat resting on the man’s head. Maybe it was the badge but that man said thank you and promptly removed his hat.
I have faith that society still has etiquette. I just would like to get back to a time when it is okay to correct without expecting an angry parent to take you out.
What etiquette traditions would you like to see make a comeback?