Welcome to my musings...

After a 3 year hiatus from blogging (too busy parenting teens to have time to write about it!), I have decided to revive my blog. I look forward to sharing my perspective on mothering as I am at the tail end of my child-raising journey. Nothing could be more beautiful, more full of joy and pain and anguish, than the divine calling of motherhood. I pray my musings will bless you on your own journey, and that you will feel encouraged and equipped!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Dearth of Manners

As I write this, I am sitting in an airport, waiting to return home from an incredible eight days at sea in the Caribbean. My husband and I decided to celebrate our 20th anniversary in a very memorable way and to escape together for a few days of relaxation and romance. Our cruise took us to several tropical locations as well as several “at sea” days.

During our journey, we noticed one thing over and over again. The crew members on our ship were absolutely amazing. They had so obviously been well-trained to treat each passenger with the utmost respect and cordiality. Each crew member would greet you politely when you passed in the hallways. The waiters at meals would pull out your chair and seat you with a smile. We heard many “sir”s and “ma’am”s and were served with the utmost respect. If you had a special need, they would bend over backwards to make it happen. Their behavior seemed to hearken back to an earlier time, when good manners were the norm, not the exception.

In contrast, however, was the behavior of many of the passengers. While some were very pleasant (such as our wonderful dinner companions), the majority were not. Time after time, we would be the ones to step aside in the narrow hallways, while the other guests plowed on through without even an “excuse me” or “thank you”, as if it were their God-given right to be first. We heard complaint after complaint about the pettiest of issues. Here we were in the closest thing to paradise on earth, and people found something to complain about! We also were appalled at our cigar-smoking neighbors in the stateroom next door, who daily chased us off our balcony with their noxious fumes. Even simple items of courtesy, such as “please” and “thank you” seemed to be absent among many of the passengers.

We couldn’t help but ponder what the world would be like if everyone acted with the same courtesy as our Royal Caribbean crew. People would be appreciative, eager to serve others and polite in their social interactions. Our assistant waiter, Manuel, had a response that we found noteworthy. Whenever we thanked him for filling our water glasses or giving us bread, he would look us in the eye and gallantly reply, “It is my pleasure”. He seemed so sincere in this statement, making us feel that it truly was a pleasure for him to serve us. What an honor it was to be served by someone who made you feel as though nothing was more important than fulfilling your every need.

It’s time for us to start a revolution…let’s teach our children old-fashioned manners and then turn them loose to change the world. Let’s be diligent in teaching them to speak politely, to seek opportunities to serve others (and to take pleasure in it), and to just be aware of the needs of the people around them. If Royal Caribbean can manage this, surely we can, too!

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