Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gentling Influences Part 2 --Refinement of Manner

(Yes, I know it's been months since I wrote part 1.)

Ladies have a profound influence upon those around them, not only through how they look, (which was addressed in part 1) but also in their manners.

In our day and age, society does not emphasize refinement of manners as something to be desired in a young lady. A young lady's manners say much more about her character than one might think. Several character traits displayed by those with "refined manners" are kindness, unselfishness, integrity , and discretion, just to name a few.

Kindness: "And be ye kind to one another..." (Eph. 4:32) Most of what defines good manners is kindness. It is polite to hold the door for an elderly person, or to give up one's seat to another, or to be thoughtful in what we say, because it is kind. A kind young lady will naturally have good manners, whether or not she has been trained in them.

Unselfishness: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:21) Unselfishness is the bloom atop the stem of kindness. It prompts one to put the needs and wishes of others before his own. Without an unselfishness of heart, good manners will breed bitterness and a rebellious spirit. To focus on one's self, complaining inwardly every time an inconvenience arises for the cause of good manners, is to be forever annoyed, for there will always be times when one does not get his own way. An unselfish young lady thinks first of others, and even when it is inconvenient, puts others first with a cheerful smile.

Integrity: "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:20) Integrity is doing what is right regardless of circumstances. No matter who is watching or not watching, or what others think about you, right is right. True character is not defined by what others think. One should always endeavor to consistently do the right thing. Without integrity, good manners are superficial and insincere. A young lady of integrity will not hesitate to return the excess when she is given too much change. She will unflinchingly keep her word, though it cause her great inconvenience or personal cost. She will do her chores without being asked, and will not wait, hoping her mother will forget to remind her.

Discretion: "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion." (Prov. 11:22) Discretion is being careful to be appropriate in word and action. Just as a jewel of gold cannot hide the disgusting smell of a pig, outward beauty cannot disguise the "stench" of a foolish heart. One without discretion will not think of others before they speak, but will tell the secrets of others to anyone and everyone. They will gossip and be unkind and unjust in their words. They will not know when to be silent, or when a laugh is inappropriate. Discretion adds refinement to even the plainest manners. A young lady with discretion will be counted trustworthy as a good friend and confidant. She will weigh her words, that she might not hurt or embarrass another by her speech. She will not make rude jokes or comments, but endeavor to be appropriate in her words and actions.

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