Monday, July 7, 2008

Strong Gentleness I

Thriving Christians blog's focus is on the health of our relationships. This the first of a series exploring the impact of gracious manners in keeping our relationships strong. It's been said that good manners are the oil that greases the wheel of society.

Rudeness is becoming common from radio anchors to executives. We pay a high price for this rampant disregard for personal conduct.
The 2 key words that good manners demonstrates are:
  • Respect
  • Consideration

True Christ-like behaviour will be hospitable, kind, generous and gracious to others. Self consumed insistence is not in line with a Christian mindset and lifestyle.

Substitute teaching in our local high school gave me a glimpse into the lack of basic good manners in a majority of the students. Working in corporate America I saw that a college degree alone would probably not be enough for them to fulfill their career goals. I felt they were playing a "game" with no working knowledge of the "game's" rules. How can anyone win any game when they don't know the rules? Businesses insist on certain etiquette in their employees.

Other teachers were convinced etiquette had not been a priority in most of these students' homes. Don't assume this was a poverty issue. No, the problem had no boundaries. The teachers said that sociologists have labeled this generation the drive through diners. They rarely ate meals at a dining table.

I well remember how convenient the drive through dining was when my children were young. A saving grace for my children was that politeness was necessary for my husband's and my good living. It wasn't an option. He and I were both only children of strict parents. Our children complained constantly about our insistence in observance of our "rules." They said we were way over the top compared to their friends' parents' expectations.

Both children have excelled in their careers. Looking at these high schoolers, I realized that our children had a great advantage with our home rules of conduct. They didn't have to be tutored on basic etiquette by their corporations or universities. Wish we had had such emphasis on some other key areas of life...but at least we stayed consistent in this area.

I recall one conversation with a student telling me of her dreams, "Oh, Mrs, Martin, I will be a marketing executive with a top firm when I graduate." Every other word out of this young lady's mouth was profanity. This honor student had a marvelous personality and wit. I spent extra time trying to show her the power of habit, and how she could work on a new pattern of speaking to overcome this addiction. I even offered her rewards for going 2 full days with no profanity. After one hour she came to me and said," _(profanity)_, Mrs. Martin, I just can't do it. This is just me." I sighed thinking how will she ever fulfill her dreams with this habit?

My concern for these students led me to explore this issue. Incivility is epidemic nationally. Harvard University offers degrees in Civility from bachelor degrees to doctorates.
A friend and I felt called to develop a business to train young people in business etiquette. We worked on it for over a year and named it."Protocol with Ease." Since we believed God gave us the concept we never promoted it, but we prepared rigorously to present training programs that were humorous, interactive and life changing.
Our resources were limited and we needed to charge to cover our costs. We tried to develop a business model. I enrolled in an intense business plan class and discovered with the fees businesses would probably pay we could not get a return on our investment. We shelved everything for "whenever."
Now in 2008, with not much thought about Protocol With Ease, we are getting requests for programs from non-profit Christian ministries. The cost of materials are covered and God has opened doors for us. Isn't that how God moves? Nothing happens, so you figure you had indigestion and called it "hearing from God." Then....bam! It's now. Fortunately we kept all our materials and in short order we will be ready to teach.

I need your help and input.............Please!!!
Assignment from Protocol With Ease: I'm hoping to appeal to you readers to share what rudeness you encounter that irritates you. Each day I will bring up a situation. I am begging you for your input.

Dining Etiquette: Session l Fast Food Drive Through Protocol

1.What do you find rude in the drive through line? (Please keep it to the customers, not the restaurant employees.)

2. Have you ever worked as the drive through clerk? If so, what did you find rude from the customers?
In prayer, God gave us this phrase: Strong Gentleness. I am presently writing a book with that title.
Truly good etiquette and Christ-like conduct can be summed up in those 2 words. Only when your strength is assured can you truly be gentle.

Reading Apostle Paul's writing in 2 Timothy 2:24 I see Strong Gentleness in his exhortation,
II Timothy 2:24, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient."
Each day we will break down many Scriptures to see how God calls us to be strong and gentle
with Christ-like etiquette and deportment.


Dorothy Champagne said...

Our preacher just spoke on this topic last Sunday in church. We are told to do our jobs for the glory of God, whether it's auto mechanics to lawyers, not for our own glory. I know you are looking for customers rudeness, but he made the statement that if you are complaining about your boss or your job - as a Christian, you have two options: talk to your boss and work things out , or quit. Constantly complaining is not the quality of a Christian. I'm so glad you took the time to address the upcoming generation and their lack of concern and "it's all about me" attitude!

Kay Martin said...

Thanks Dorothy,

Your pastor hit something even bigger than manners. Submission to authority is most Americans' major problem. When you combine hospitable manners with a grateful attitude and a respect for authority solutions break through on many of our national issues.

The recent movie on Esther demonstrated the truth of learned behavior. These great young people can learn to live a better way. Protocol is a learned skill.

My prayer is to be an encouraging, fun, inspiring teacher. To motivate someone to change the way they eat, dress, talk, walk, stand and sit is a huge challenge.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

This is really good stuff. There is actually a book written called Generation ME that I am going to read here shortly. It is not a Christian book but it has lots of research in it about this ME epidemic.

I have never worked in the drive thru but I think rudeness is when someone is on the cell phone as they come through-they do not pay the clerk any attention. Another rudeness thing is impatience. The customer is rude because the attendants are not fast enough.

Great stuff Kay.
Much love,

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.