Anyone listening to the news and watching recent events unfold around the world make anyone wonder, “Has the world gone mad?” Have we as humans moved so far away from each other that the voice of discontent and anger echoes louder than one of understanding and cooperation?
There was a time when a gentle demeanor, consideration and respect for others correctly reflected our character to others, setting the tenor of our heritage. Unfortunately, these values seem to have given way to pride and distinction. Now, the coat of arrogance and self-centeredness is frequently worn by those who deem themselves important.
Times have changed, and change is good. It keeps the blood circulating. Change is part of being alive, and it makes life interesting. However, when change no longer enhances civilized society, we must retreat to a place where dignity, respect and cooperation are symbols of success and true power.
That personal power displayed by courageous individuals is one of genteel professionalism. It shows a sense of confidence, yet is willing to extend a firm but gentle hand to connect with others and our world.
Living in this technologically sophisticated society of blogging, texting and tweeting, our people skills have become out of focus. Our casual society of saying what you want, when you want, anytime you want has brought about a decline of consideration for others.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself” have become passé.
Yet professionals in the field of protocol and etiquette have seen a resurgence of interest in relearning these skills left behind in the wake of instant communication.
“When we hit the recession, there was a greater interest in protocol and etiquette,” said Pamela Eyring, president and director of the Protocol School in Washington, D.C. “This surge may be the result of job hunters trying to work every angle.”
Etiquette was never intended to be a rigid set of rules; rather, it is a code of behavior based on consideration, kindness and unselfishness.
“Please” and “thank you” are still the magic words.
Zeda Dowell of Ben Lomond answers questions, teaches classes and provides information about international protocol, dining, being a gentleman and cultural diversity. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.