A Conversation for Modern Etiquette
azahar Started conversation Mar 22, 2003
My Collins dictionary says that chivalry is:
1) the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp. courage, honour, justice and a readiness to help the weak.
2) courteous behaviour esp. towards women.
3) the medieval system and principles of knighthood.
It's my own personal opinion that we have come a ways since the middle ages, in SOME ways. I don't believe, for example, that women truly continue to need gratuitous expressions of 'chivalry' in terms of having doors opened for them, etc, whatever. Though this may be considered very polite and pleasant at times.
I am a woman, by the way.
But I am more concerned about how we, as humans, treat others around us on a daily basis. Taking the first definition - showing courage, honour, justice and a readiness to help the weak - for example.
Readiness to help the weak.
How many of us actually do this on a daily basis?
You pass a beggar in the street. What do you do? Just look the other way? Or hand them some spare change, again without looking them in the eye? Thereby feeling like you have done your 'duty'.
Who actually takes the time to say hello to these people? Yes, they obviously need a handout - the cash is definitely necessary for them. But would it take SO MUCH effort (remember - courage, honour, justice, a readiness to help the weak) to ask this person his or her name? To tell them yours. To ask them how they are feeling? To share a few moments of your time, your caring, your basic humanity, with another human who is so obviously in need of human contact as well as some spare change?
I say that most people feel too cowardly to do this - somehow. It's almost as though they feel ashamed of the person in front of them or else they find this person frightening or threatening somehow.
Okay, if the best you can do is hand out some spare change - then good for you! At least that is something.
But maybe next time, try to see that person as someone who is possibly weak (though in fact, there is probably a whole massive story behind where they got where they are and they are not weak at all, just lost) and along with the spare change, offer a well-meant human exchange.
It's been my experience that most street people are just SO DARNED LONELY. They love it if you take a few moments to chat with them. And in the end, they appreciate this much more than the bits of spare change you might throw their way.
If you find this hard to do, then try to remember - you are a knight! You have a chivalrous obligation to be courageous and just and care for the weak.
After that, if you are a man, and feel like opening doors for women, okey-dokey. But take care of the people who truly need your chivalry first. And this also goes for women - there were once knights and ladies. And I believe that ladies were also bound to chivalry.
It's really only basic humanity.
Try it sometime. I think you'll find you get back even more than you give.
Wrinkled Rocker Posted Mar 22, 2003
AMEN azahar! (or should I be PC and say APERSONS!)
Politeness / courtesy is as easy as treating all other people with the same respect you would like to have shown to yourself.
A very wise Naval Officer once said to me that the first word in an order is 'Please...' and the first word in response to a report back is 'Thank you...'!
In work or team situations, always praise in public and criticise in private. If you have to say something to a person that they may perceive as negative, try to point out TWO things that are positive first!
AstroNut Posted Mar 22, 2003
Nice centiment, but if only things were that simple.....
Personally, I do not as a habit stop to talk to people begging in the street, or give them any money. In the same respect I do not pass any kind of judgement as to the kind of person that they are.
I do however consider myself to have a chivalrous nature. I think nothing of opening holding a door open for anyone, it has become an automatic reaction.
Have a sense of justice, and will take appropriate action whenever necessary. Be that from having a quite word with someone in the corner, right through to making a citizen's arrest then calling in the authorities (fortunatly I've not ever had to do this). As taking things onto a much larger scale, I am blessed with the ability to look at a situation from someone else's point of view - completely discarding my own personal feelings.
Courage, this is something that must be judged from a personal angle. You don't need to go slaying dragons to be couragous. Courage comes in many forms - overcomming a personal fear, going against pier pressure, being yourself! Also on this point, just because you might fail as one of these, or indeed any other task, doesn't mean that you instantly don't have any courage.... you tried, that's the important thing. If you failed this time, if your couragous you'll have another attempt at the task.
Obviously, attempting these will make you naturally a courtious person, and you will be thinking of others. But what about that "readiness to help the weak"?
Is the begger on the street really the person that you should be helping? Unfortunatly, in this day and age some unscroupulous people will tend to prey upon people's kind heartedness. This is a fact of modern day living. In fact there have been beggers, about since before the days of the knights, did they stop to help every person they found on the street? I don't think so. In fact it could even be said that the begger on the street isn't actually in need. (Note: This wasn't ment to sound cynical, even though it does read like that)
I believe that the "readiness to help the weak" really means that whenever possible be ready and willing to help people who are in genuine need - someone broken down at the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, victims in a motor accident, a person injured in need of first aid, someone being victimised! Someone sat quietly on their own, head held in their hands. These are just a couple of examples that I consider to be of people who are in genuine need, they all have one thing in common. It is that their position is vulnerable to those who might seek to harm or defraud.
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