A charge for the Ho‘okipa Brigade: Social Graces

Over at Joyful Jubilant Learning, I started an invitation to our Ho‘okipa forum of articles here like this; “Most people think of hospitality as a social grace, something you remember to do like mom taught you, when you know guests are coming to visit.”

Maybe not; my “most people” may have been an ambitious statement according to this, a Letter to the Editor in yesterday’s Honolulu Advertiser:

   Is common courtesy dying?
  Are we forgetting how to say “please” and “thank you?”

   Worse yet, are we serving as poor examples to our children with our inconsiderate and rude behavior?

   Almost daily, I hear customers use words to the effect of “Gimme” or “I need” when ordering food or coffee from employees at various locations.

   “Please” and “thank you” have all but disappeared from our vocabulary.

   Lately, I’ve noticed the same behavior by children.

   Have we forgotten the “magic words” we learned from our parents?

Thank you,

Mal Gillin, Kailua

Then, moments after putting the paper aside, I read a story at Rich Griffith’s place, about someone who is giving up on his job altogether because he has had it with the inconsideration and drag on his life by his customers: Not just another cog… It made me feel incredibly sad.

Seems social graces need a comeback. Sounds like worthwhile work for all of us as a ho‘okipa brigade, don’t you think?


  1. says

    Hi Rosa, as with hospitality, courtesy is a way of showing value and respect for others. This is the kind of action that allows another driver go get ahead of you in busy traffic, rather than dashing in ahead of someone for a parking space. There are so many ways social graces are exhibited. Thanks for this reminder.

  2. says

    Aloha Robyn, I do believe we must remind ourselves constantly about the ripple effect of our actions, for there is so little that we do in isolation; I believe we human beings are meant to live together in far more uplifting ways. I am quite sure we can all place ourselves in that example you give, when that taking or sharing of a parking space was a catalyst setting our mood for all the hours which followed! As the adage goes, for every action there is a reaction…

  3. says

    So often I wonder if I’m just getting older with the whole, “Whippersnappers today ain’t got no respect…” thing, but there really does appear at times to be a crisis of manners around, where good manners and being polite and civil is confused with being a pushover.
    Are we raising people so insecure in themselves that they’re that determined to prove their toughness to others that they can’t be civil to each other? It’s a spooky proposition.
    I’m all for a resurgence in manners, maybe we can start with Simon Cowell, his glamorizing rudeness as frankness or straight-shooting is NOT helping things.

  4. says

    You raise a good point Rich. I have wondered how people can justify Simon Cowell’s blatant disregard for human dignity by saying things like, “well, you’ve got to respect the guy’s honesty.” No I don’t! There is a rich, encouraging vocabulary from which he could choose better words to use and still be honest and forthright.
    We are living in a world of media bombardment where fame and celebrity is achieved much quicker with controversy and abrasiveness, and it is up to us to not accept it and thus give it credence.

  5. says

    I am now 61. When I was growing up, good manners were expected. Said “please” and “thank-you” and “yes, sir” and “yes ma’am.” People commented on your behavior if you did not do those things.
    My grandsons, aged 9 and 11, are here this week. They are rambunctious boys, filled with energy. They are having great fun trying to catch tadpoles in the creek out back, trying to spot the beaver in the same creek, and swimming the afternoons away.
    My daughter and her husband have brought them up to say “please” and “thank-you” and “yes, sir” and “yes ma’am.” But when they do it, people comment on how wonderful it is that they have manners. Now good manners are a surprise.
    But they’re a good surprise. Civility and manners make the world a better place to be.

  6. says

    Wally – I couldn’t agree more.
    Our children are raised the same way – we think it is one of the most important things we can teach our children.
    The words “ma’am” and “sir” – while required – are not the point. It is the spirit of the message. Teaching respect is an important character trait. Courtesy, honor, integrity, hospitality – all of these characteristics, in my opinion, have their root in respect.

  7. says

    Thank you for teaching me (and Google treasure maps).

    “Thank you for teaching me.” “Thank you for listening.” Contributing JJL Author Tim Milburn gave us some coaching recently on studentl.inc in connection with using Google Alerts, and I’m adding my “I second the motion!” here with an example of…

  8. says

    “Inspiration” is ‘in-spirit.’ Thus Inspiration is Aloha.

    HCer* Joanna Young has been asking us this month, “What inspires you?” Her theme for her coaching at Confident Writing has been Fire-Breathing Dragons: Inspiration Is The Theme For March, a follow-up to another conversation I was delighted to participa…