Senior citizens are a valuable part of our society. They protect our traditions and the history of our society. If you sit and chat with a senior, you will find a wealth of knowledge and information not found in textbooks. Their stories are priceless. In fact, the way things were in the not-too-distant past is often hard to believe.
Spring is finally here! Soon the smell of cut grass and barbeques will fill the streets. Spring and summer are big seasons for entertaining and gatherings. We come out of hibernation with enthusiasm for entertaining outdoors.
If you and your children are planning to attend a future gathering, here are some tips to ensure that you are good guests.
Why does it seem the politics bring out the worst in people? I am getting ready to “unfollow” some people on Facebook. I like these people and care about them, but I don’t care for the choices they are making right now. I don’t believe social media should be used to express personal opinions - rudely. Many people are passionate about what is going on in our country. However, no one has the right to assume that everyone shares his or her views and dissatisfactions.
If you have had the opportunity to fly lately, you may have noticed that there is very little “friendly” in the sky. In fact, flying has become rather chaotic and abrasive at times. Passengers are shuffled from line to line and expected to maintain a calm disposition when told that a flight has been canceled or delayed for some ambiguous reason.
Christmas 2015 has come and gone. It is a special time of year for many reasons, one of them being spending time with friends and family. Many gifts are exchanged as a token of love and friendship.
So what are you going to do with that sweater you are never going to wear? Is it acceptable to ask the person who purchased the item for a receipt so that you may return it and purchase something you would like? In the world of protocol, the answer is no.
The holidays are upon us. Many people will be attending parties, dinners and company holiday gatherings. What is appropriate attire for holiday events? Some may be casual, taking place in a bar. Some may be more formal, especially those hosted at a private club or banquet facility.
Etiquette refers to rules of acceptable behavior. It is how one makes others feel comfortable in his or her presence. A breach is an infraction or a failure to comply with something. Hence, an etiquette breach is a failure to comply with a particular behavior necessary for a situation or environment.
Now that we have that out of the way, how should you handle a situation when you "mess up"?
The importance of random acts of kindness came up during one of my 6th grade classes. We had talked about etiquette and manners and why we should think about other people when making decisions. We had also covered the need to be appreciative of gifts and kind gestures.
Some years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Cleveland. The luncheon included the top three winners of a speech contest hosted by the Rotary for local high schools. The young man who won first place - a senior from John Marshal High School - gave an unbelievable speech about living a non-violent life. He explained that violence serves no purpose. He sited the example of a friend who had been killed and how it affected him and his school. He mesmerized the room. He and his speech gave the entire room amazing hope.
The question is: Do I still have to pay attention to protocol for casual, social events? If you’re with your family and friends, do you really have to use all the etiquette manners? The answer is yes, you do, however remember etiquette is about other people. It is about what we need to do to make others feel comfortable. If you’re at a picnic eating fried chicken and corn on the cob, and no one takes offense to the corn stuck to the side of your face, you’re okay. If you’re in a pair of cut-off shorts and a t-shirt because your picnic is at the beach, you’re good. Others will most likely be dressed the same. If you’re having a great time dancing, showing off your best moves and the rest of the group is participating, you’re good.
I recently received an apology that I found upsetting. I realize that we are introduced to the apology at a very young age. However, somewhere along the way, I think the true purpose of an apology has been forgotten.
An apology should restore faith and trust. It is an acknowledgement that someone has made a mistake and regrets it.
Spring is just around the corner. It has been a difficult winter, but crazy winters allow us to appreciate beautiful springs even more. Use the new season as an opportunity to spread some old-fashioned kindness. I think the continued extreme cold weather has put many of us in a funk. The cold and gray can do this. However, as you start peeling off the depression and feeling renewed, spread the joy.
At a training course I recently attended, the instructor's cell phone began to ring in the middle of the session. This was disturbing enough, but what was even more inappropriate was that she answered it! She took the call while 40 students sat and stared at her.
The following suggestions on how to conduct a successful training event are based on the etiquette world. These suggestions are designed to demonstrate respect for everyone involved.
Is it okay to tell someone that you have exchanged his or her gift? In the protocol world, the answer is NO! It is not acceptable to tell the giver that you have taken back a gift unless it is to exchange it for a different size.
This holiday season, take a moment to recognize those around you and tip. If you don’t usually tip, give it a shot. If you do normally tip, do something extra special and creative. Take care of people you normally do and people you normally don’t. For example, if the cashier at the car wash treats you nicely or someone brings your heavy items to your car, slip him or her a couple of dollars. Most people take these folks for granted.
Recently, I attended a church service and sat in front of some poorly behaved children. To make matters worse, the parents attempted to bribe their children with candy suckers that came in very loud wrappers.
In my house, candy is a reward for good behavior. I wondered why someone would give an overly active child sugar in the hopes that they would calm down. Bribing an overly active child to calm down with sugar is like bribing an alcoholic to get sober with a beer. It just didn’t make any sense, but it got me thinking.
What do you do when you are trying to be a gentleman and the woman you are with does not appreciate your manners? What do you say if the lady insists on paying her portion of a bill or wants to open her own door? What do you do if a woman says, “I can do it myself”, when you attempt to pull out her chair? Obviously, you are not doing these things because you feel the woman is incapable of doing them herself. You may be trying to demonstrate that you are a gentleman and this is how you show respect.
When is good enough...really good enough? Most people go through life thinking they are "good enough". After all, "how could we have gotten this far in life if we weren't?" We live in nice houses, drive nice cars, our children go to good schools and we have good jobs and hobbies. We are good enough! But is good enough really good?
The Republican National Convention is going to be a great opportunity for the City of Cleveland. People will be visiting from all over the country. They will eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels and take in the incredible entertainment that we have to offer. My hope is that we join together and welcome our visitors as excellent hosts and hostesses.
I have been accused of being “Old School”. I am quite okay with it. Actually, I think of it as a compliment. I believe Old School people are traditionalists. We care about what people think and consider others when making decisions. We think big picture and long term. We are normally consistent, committed to routines (from which we rarely deviate), and punctual. Many times we are black and white. There is not always a “gray” to a situation and Old School people know this.
Recently, a good friend of mine invited me to a First Holy Communion party for her daughter. Due to a conflict, I was not able to attend. I told her immediately and sent my card. The invitation requested an RSVP, which is quite common for parties that require a head count for food and beverages.
After the party, I asked my friend how the ceremony and celebration went. Everything turned out very well except she was a little hurt. Several individuals who said they would be attending, chose not to.
It’s an odd question because at first you think the answer would be “of course”! Then you think “well maybe” but… Where are people using proper protocol? Who is using proper manners? Who’s teaching etiquette and to whom? Does it really matter if others are not using any manners? Are manners becoming a thing of the past? Does it really matter if we use good manners in restaurants and in people’s homes if others are not? Does it really matter or make a difference? Absolutely!
Recently, I had a familiar conversation with a new friend. Whenever I tell people I am a Protocol Consultant, it seems to immediately spark a pet peeve. The next sentence is always, “you know what drives me crazy? When people . . .” It can be anything: people who don’t RSVP and then show up; kids left to run wild in restaurants; people who don’t send thank yous; texting at the dinner table. The list goes on and on.
What does R.S.V.P. mean and what does it mean today? R.S.V.P comes from a French term: répondez s'il vous plait. Translated: Please respond. It doesn’t mean only respond if you are coming or if you are not coming. It means please respond and let the person know whether or not you are coming.
Recently, I traveled on an airplane next to a gentleman from Chicago. We struck up some general, pleasant conversation about where we were from and what we did for a living. I told him that I ran an etiquette company and was rather busy working with schools and companies interested in adding social skills training to their curriculum and training programs.
We started a conversation about how many people have become so oblivious to how they behave in public. I told him I was regularly disappointed to hear of parents confronting teachers and principals. Moreover, I had personally witnessed extreme rudeness and vulgarity toward coaches and referees at football, basketball and soccer games for children.
Recently a woman told me about a baby shower that she had attended, where the hostess passed out envelopes at the end of the party and asked the guests to put their names and addresses on them. The hostess explained that this would make it easier for the new mother-to-be to get thank-you notes out. Is this an acceptable practice according to protocol?
The answer is no.
The holiday season is upon us. There will be plenty of opportunities to introduce protocol to our young people. Here is a list to get you started. I recommend that you make a game of these skills. Attach points so that the children may work toward some kind of prize. If they achieve a certain number of points by Christmas, offer an additional much-desired gift as a reward. This will make the skills fun and educational.
The holidays will be upon us soon. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas and New Year's will be here in a blink. There will be many opportunities to entertain and to attend parties. Why not use this holiday season as an opportunity to give the gift of good manners. Here is a short list to consider before you walk out the door to an event or gathering:
The holidays are just around the corner. Soon we will be traveling to friends and relatives for Thanksgiving, Christmas and festive parties to celebrate the season. Entertaining is costly and requires a lot of planning and work. A host or hostess gift is always suggested and recommended.
If you are contributing to the menu with a dish, this can take the place of a hostess gift. You could also present a small gift, but it is not necessary.
Dear Mrs. Harding,
How do I let a parent know that I want to be called Mrs. and not by my first name by their child?
Great question. Many adults today choose not to be called Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. Perhaps it makes them feel older. You may hear someone say, “Mrs. Smith was my mother, please call me by my first name.”
Dear Mrs. Harding: How do I get my children to write thank you notes?
Great question. This generation has been identified as the Entitled Generation. It has been accused of lacking appreciation and a feeling of entitlement - one is owed things because everything is supposed to be fair. Numerous articles and interviews have been done about this trait in the current generation. It is an issue of concern.
Thank you notes are one way to address this issue. Thank you notes give a person an opportunity to stand out and look good by demonstrating appreciation. If someone purchases a gift for you or makes something for you, they have taken time out of their schedule for you. The least you can do is recognize that effort. A thank you note should take about five minutes at the most to write, seal and address.