It has come to my attention that everyone is really excited about the Royal Nuptials. Even the Emily Post Institute has a congratulatory message to Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Personally, I think we should take this moment to reflect on our manners. Now, one thing we have learned from the Royals is that some Royals have bad manners (e.g. Prince Charles and Fergie). Other Royals have good manners (e.g. Queen Elizabeth). In other words, being Royal does not guarantee that you have good manners. In addition, Being a so called "Commoner," like Kate Middleton, does not mean that you have bad manners.
I think that one of the most gracious people around is the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter.
Another good example of a southern lady with very good manners was Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who himself did not have very good manners, so it was good that he was married to the dignified Lady Bird.
I personally learned most of my manners from my grandmother, Margaret Safronia Rasnick. She was a Southerner, and definitely a commoner, being descended from Hessian mecenaries who settled in the Appalachias. However, she prized good manners, and she taught me some.
Now, let me pass on some lessons to you.
Dear Digital Natives. First of all, I humbly submit that your generation is a little overly familiar. It upsets me a little bit when 21 year old students who have met me once call me by my first name. First of all, I am old enough to be your mother. Secondly, I have loads of titles and degrees, which I earned with some very hard work. Third, I am your professor. One student at the American University in Cairo informed me that he calls the President of the American University in Cairo "Lisa." I think that is unwise. I believe her correct title is President Anderson. In addition, she is 40 years older than said student, because she was my Professor at Columbia when I was in undergraduate school. I informed this cheeky student that I myself, who am much closer to her in both age and stature, call her President Anderson.
According to Emily Post
It may not always be clear how to address a person. Are they a "Mrs." or a "Miss?" Do you say "Mr." or "Sir?" Both on letters and in person, these titles can in fact make a difference in how a person is received. Although there can be many potential options, addressing someone by the name or title that he or she prefers is one of the most basic ways to show your respect.
Ms. Post also states
Whether it is a written correspondence, a face-to-face conversation or an introduction, being aware of a person's title shows respect for place and time. Some titles are earned by hard work, some connote age; and just as using the proper one is respectful, using the wrong one can seem discourteous. Titles are not universally utilized, but it is best to be prepared with an appropriate choice when addressing someone.
According to an expert in business etiquette
"Address individuals by their honorific or title: There is so much informality in the workplace today that in many offices business is lost, and goodwill destroyed, because of total disregard for properly addressing clients. The proper way to address a client is to greet them using their honorific or title followed by their last name. It is up to the client, or your superior, to ask you to call them by their first name."
As a general rule, one should use the highest title to whom the bearer is entitled. So for example, Dean Ed Dorn of the Lyndon Baines Johnson School is no longer the Dean. He is also a Professor and holds a doctorate from Yale. He is also Former Under Secretary of Defense. While working in Washington, he should have been called Secretary Dorn. Now that he lives in Texas, he should be called Dean Dorn. I have known him for many years, but I still call him Dean Dorn.
I hope you have found this lesson useful. I will address other matters in manners and demeanor in time.
Sincerely, Dr. Bowman.
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