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What Happened to Decorum?

de·co·rum

noun

1. dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
So, maybe you don’t understand even this definition.  Basically, it’s taking the time to understand, respect and take part in proper behavior for the situation, location or culture you are in.  So, now that’s cleared up, what happened to it?
The United States’ culture that once was, in my opinion, overly “tight” and “stuffy” has gone to the other extreme in the general public.  The days of wearing a suit or dress everywhere are over.  Yes, kids, people pretty much used to wear a suit or a dress everywhere.  The days of treating a lady with proper respect have evolved to, treat a lady like everyone else; like they are not special.
Why am I writing this today, well I had a thought that maybe we need reminded that if we don’t teach our kids some sort of decorum, it will get lost completely.  You see we’ve gotten lazy over the years.  We’ve rebelled as well.  I still vividly recall my mother and a cute girl in 7th grade teaching me some basic decorum.  My mom noted that I should be patient and wait to open the door for a lady.  At the time I would bull over anyone in front of me so I could be first (YEAH!).  The cute girl told me to slow down because I walked too fast.  Walk with me, don’t pull me along like a dog!  Two simple examples of decorum.  Two examples of being taught to think of others first.
Do you teach your kids any basic “dignified propriety of behavior”?  Do you as a person perform any acts of decorum?  The way I see it, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Certain acts of decorum can really reach into the heart of someone and make a difference.  Shouldn’t we teach our kids multiple ways to respect and show brotherly love toward their “neighbors”?
There’s a GREAT movie called, Take the Lead, in which Antonio Banderas teaches decorum in High School in the form of ball room dancing.  What’s fun is that he’s attempting to do it in the after school detention room.  It’s a great movie that at first may seem foreign to anyone under the age of 20.  Ballroom dancing?  Treating a lady with respect?  Not only do you learn about proper respect for a dancing partner, you see Banderas live out many other behaviors that have been lost in much of our culture.  WATCH this movie, it’s very entertaining and it drills in my point about decorum and how far we have drifted.
Remember, if you are a parent, you are on the hook to teach your children well (CSN&Y), to be a great example and to spend time learning things you may have missed in your own childhood.  Read up on the many forms of decorum, pick a few to drill into your own mind or your kids and see if it doesn’t make a difference.
Some simple ideas for you to try (especially you young men looking for love):
Open the car door for your date, getting in the car and out.  Wait and then close the door for her.  Offer your hand to help her out.
When a lady leaves or comes into your presence, stand and acknowledge her.  (i.e. to the dinner table or leaving the dinner table, into or out of the room)
Do not burp out loud or make other noises.  Politely leave the room.
Try dressing up in a suit or other formal attire for a special meal.  Encourage your date to dress up.  You will feel like a million bucks (you are worth it).
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One Response

  1. Great article… however, I am a little unsure why you did not take the opportunity to provide Biblical insight to this idea of decorum. It is how we raise our children… by example… and how we treat others. Just sayin… brother :)

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