Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I've not participated much in Heads or Tails Tuesday lately. For some reason, Tuesdays always seem to be busy days for me. Not today, though. One of the things I like about HoT, is that despite having a weekly theme to guide participants, Barb allows us to interpret the theme loosely, and write about all manner of things. And of course, this week's theme is Manner.
Please allow me to introduce this important-looking gentleman. Apart from having a somewhat authoritative-looking manner about him, he was the originator of a motto oft repeated through the centuries: 'manners makyth man'. Of course, we've modernized it a little, by changing 'makyth' to 'maketh', but the word 'maketh' still betrays the motto's antiquity.
So who is he? He was known as William of Wykeham. Born in Hampshire in 1320, in the south of England, he became bishop of Winchester Cathedral. Although William died in 1404, his motto has survived him by more than six centuries, and I find it just as relevant today as it ever was.
It's a sad but true fact, that good manners have been in decline for a long time, as the lack of manners flourishes. I'm not talking about a simple 'please' or 'thank you' here - although they would be good to hear from time to time. People just don't consider others any more. Whether it's the road hog blocking your way ahead, the noisy neighbour keeping you awake 24/7, the dog walker who doesn't clean up their pooch's poop, or the lout who yells 'eff off out the way, missus', instead of a nice 'excuse me please', bad manners are in evidence everywhere. Just when - and how - did we become so rude and inconsiderate?
Perhaps I'm just getting old, and doing the typical 'kids these days' routine. But I don't think so. I've seen a distinct lack of manners displayed across all age groups, not just amongst juveniles. It's a sad reflection of our times, don't you think? 'Manners makyth man' is the motto of both Winchester College and New College, Oxford. I wish the whole nation would adopt it as their own, personal motto. How lovely life would be.