FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Good manners never go out of style


Whatever happened to old fashioned manners and kindness? Think about it.

Good manners are nothing more than doing what is thoughtful for another person and treating them like we would like to be treated. Even that has somewhat gone out of style, as people put themselves before anyone else. Kindness is seemingly going out of style. We are becoming an angry society and think only of ourselves. Too bad. Things are not what they used to be!

I am usually a positive person, but it seems to me the entire population is more impatient, angry, frustrated and confused than ever before. We are all in a rush, and think less of our fellow-men. I hope it will soon be getting better. Is it because we have all been cooped up in our homes and away from our friends? Or do we just need some peace in our lives? My answer to that is found in Psalms 46:19: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

The sweetest story I know about kindness was executed by a great-grand-child of one of my dearest, dearest friends. This little boy, Keeton, had cancer and spent more time in the hospital than he did at home until his passing at a very young age. But while he was in treatment, he started a kindness club. With the money donated, he bought socks and gave them to homeless people in and around Oklahoma City. His legacy lives on as there is still an active “Kindness Club.” They have T-shirts and have their own Facebook page so one can join and be part of the kindness movement.

One of the joys of my life is teaching “Life Lessons” at Hillsdale Christian School. It is my privilege to share what I know to sixth-graders who are becoming teenagers soon. They are so attentive and eager to learn anything I present to them about kindness or good manners. They are all from wonderful homes and already know kindness. Every day when I arrive at school, they meet me at my car and carry all my teaching supplies into the building. When class is over, they load everything back in my car. They all hold the doors and are kind in every way. It is contagious.

We were taught to say “please” and “thank you” from the time we could barely talk. How long has it been since someone said “thank you” for holding a door open or opening a door for someone? How well I remember one evening that we went to the symphony. My late husband, Jim, who used a cane, opened the door for a lady and she came through and was very polite and thanked him. Then a stream of others, about 12 people, walked through like Jim was the official doorman and none of them said a word of thanks or showed any appreciation. I couldn’t believe their rudeness, so I finally said, “You are welcome!” They looked at me like I was some kind of nut. But what has happened to just plain old-fashioned manners and being courteous?

I guess we women are somewhat to blame for this turn of manners as we were so set on becoming equal that we have almost destroyed our being placed on a pedestal. What started out as trying to be fair and equal has created a monster. Now some women are offended if a gentleman opens a door for her. Too bad. I liked it the old way best.

I was raised with the idea that women were respected and almost placed on a pedestal. Daddy used to have many hired hands working for him. He was strict. No one came to our table with their shirt off. No one came into the house with a cap or hat on their head. He insisted that Mother and his daughters were treated with respect like ladies.

I like that idea. It is difficult to change old habits. I still want people to remove their hats in my house, and no one comes in my house or to my table without a shirt on. Jim always removed his cap when he got in an elevator. Even if it was just me with him, he removed his cap. I appreciate this genuine thoughtfulness and courtesy. It makes me feel respected. That gesture dated him, I know, because that is old school. Hardly anyone does it anymore. But I do like it. And I like that Stan opens the door for me at all times. It is appreciated and kind.

Good manners also extend to the highways. Road rage is nothing more than thinking of self first with no consideration for the other drivers. People almost don’t feel safe on the highways anymore for fear someone will drive up beside them and shoot for no reason. Giving the other person the right-of-way at an intersection is almost unheard of, when we used to be waved on to go first. We are in such a terrible hurry that we forget good manners when we get into our cars.

Table manners have given way to fast food and eating with our hands. What a joy it is to eat dinner when the table is set properly and beautifully appointed. It just makes any food taste better. It becomes a habit to just eat and run or use paper plates. It is not absolutely necessary to know which fork is used when, or how to use a butter knife, but it is important to use a napkin and be courteous and not eat like we are at a trough.

A reader requested the peach dumpling recipe that I shared some time ago. It is a joy to repeat it. She said a friend had done some work for her and his only request for payment was a batch of peach dumplings she had made for him earlier. The original recipe is one my niece makes. It is a snap to make, but wonderful like it took all afternoon to prepare.

Kara’s Peach Dumplings


1 or 2 packages frozen peaches, thawed

2 (8 oz.) cans crescent rolls

2 sticks butter

1½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon to taste (be generous)

1 (12 oz.) can Mountain Dew


Wrap each peach slice in a crescent roll. Place in 9-by-12 buttered pan. Melt butter, add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir and pour entire mixture over peaches. Pour Mountain Dew around edges of pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream and spoon some of the sweet sauce from the pan over the top. Kara says, “These are simply too good! They start a bidding war at church auctions.”

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