We exist in a culture that holds that shaping of people iscompulsory, especially when it involves children. The notion is basedon the argument that present behaviors play a significant role in thefuture endeavors. For example, a child who steals should be punishedat an early age as a means to guide them against the immoralpractice. The assumption of the act would translate to loss of livesand insecurities in the future. On the contrary, the kid may turn outto be a robber or corrupt official in the future because theyassimilated the habit and made it permanent in their lives. HarrietBeecher Stowe and Catharine Beecher are some of the notable women whohave been at the forefront in advocating for women education as anavenue of improving the quality of home life in the United States(U.S.). People have been structured such that they have to establisha decent relationship between their behavior and personas. Althoughthe excerpt “Good Manners” was published in 1869, it is stillrelevant in today’s society. We exist in a world where peoplequestion our behaviors. For example, why we have to please others inthe society and what quantifies and qualifies good manners?Similarly, is it logical to behave in ways that satisfy our personalobjectives? However, in the long run, we are still constrained by ourculture because it is part of our environment.
Beecher defines good manners as “expressions of benevolence inpersonal interaction by which we endeavor to promote the comfort andenjoyment of other people to avoid all that gives them needlessuneasiness” (Beecher & Stowe, 2010, p. 197). They further arguethat the presence of good manners helps in avoiding practices thatcould contribute to conflicts with others in the social group. Theauthors acknowledge that there is a significant difference in thesociety.
Moreover, most of their arguments are based on the democraticprinciple which offers different priorities. In a democratic world,there are superiors and subordinates. The hierarchy is the primaryprecipitator of manners. The presence of good manners will decreasethe risk of conflicts among the superiors and subordinates. Beecher’ssisters give examples on the benefit of good manners in establishingrelationships (Beecher et al., 2010). Pupils should be subordinate toteachers, children to parents, and employees to employers.
Most of the ideas proposed by the excerpt are important in ourday-to-day lives. It assists in establishing a framework toappropriate manners. A significant portion delves on how children aresupposed to conduct themselves both in private and public scenarios.It is necessary for children to have good manners, especially wheninteracting with elders in the society. I agree with the view thatparents who occasionally permit their children to talk to them in thesame style they address each other would be hopeless to expectcourtesy of tone and manners. In this case, the children will end upaddressing others irrespective of their age in any way they deem fit.They will tend to believe that if their parents approve of themanner, there is no way other parents would disapprove. Parents wouldautomatically act as a shield towards their children’s bad manners.
I concur with the authors’ comment that good breeding is afundamental element of an upright society. It is common sense to shundisgusting habits such as spitting on carpets, fingering the hair,picking the nose and snuffing (Beecher et al., 2010). It is importantto prepare children to avoid these kinds of behaviors or riskpracticing them when they are all grown. Good manners also guaranteethe observance of table etiquette. For example, I strongly opposehabits such as speaking while food is in the mouth and picking theteeth at the table while others are still eating because all theseare bad manners. Children should learn that these habits areimpermissible hence, there is a need to train them with greatpatience and gentleness.
However, I disagree with the opinion that good manners can besuccessfully cultivated in domestic circle and early life (Beecher etal., 2010). The argument that habits developed as a child grows upwill influence their future behavioral traits is false (Beecher etal., 2010). I believe that fixed modes of tone, movement, andlanguage may be altered with the right motivator. People usuallychange because of the uneven dynamics of life. A superb example isthe waste management subject and abusing others. Although we havebeen taught the importance of keeping the environment clean as wegrew up, most people still litter the environment. They engage inthis practice under the pretext that garbage collection companieshave been employed to keep the environment clean.
Besides, fixed habits may be easily altered, especially by adults whoexpect to be treated with respect yet they fail to reciprocate. Itshould be noted that respect is earned and not given. The adherenceto the rules of precedence is only possible when the superiors treatthe subordinates with the respect they deserve. The authors failed toelaborate the essential of good manners and respect. The failure ofthe two aspects will automatically lead to constant scrambling foradvantage.
In conclusion, the Beecher’s sisters established a robust frameworkfor examining good manners. Good breeding should be employed in ourday-to-day activities as a means to manage conflicts and develophealthy working relationships. However, it should be demonstratedthat good manners apply to individual behavior up to a certainlimited extent. People behave in certain ways because particularcircumstances have forced them.
Beecher, C. E., & Stowe, H. B.(2010). TheAmerican Woman`s Home.Kessinger Publishing.