This week in a local restaurant, my daughter, who was in front of a customer whose hands were full, held the door open for the lady. The lady expressed no concern of appreciation; she never even grunted (perhaps she thought my daughter was the doorperson!).
My daughter was taken aback, as she was raised to give a simple “thank you” for a courtesy done.
We as Bermudians are offended when this type of behaviour occurs, and unfortunately it is occurring far too often. I was taught to use my manners on everyone, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the ugly, the pretty, the stranger –– in fact, I constantly heard while growing up by my elders that “manners are due to a dog”.
Imagine that! So important are manners that even a dog should be given the courtesy. I was also taught that “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. This I interpreted to mean follow the lead of the local people and you would be all right.
However, Bermuda seems to be populated with people both local and foreign who simply do not have any manners –– how sad, as part of Bermuda’s culture, our heritage and what we are world-renowned for is our manners, our courtesy and our warmth. I think that it is a great travesty and disrespect for these ill-mannered people to tarnish our good Bermuda reputation because of their unmannerly selves.
Even though we try to follow the new-fangled, so-called sophisticated way of the 21st century, being ill-mannered is not something for us to aspire to.
This behaviour does not sit well with my spirit. I would venture to say it is rude, obnoxious and arrogant and I will never, ever subscribe to it or accept such ill manners and disdainful behaviour –– it rubs me the wrong way.
It seems one is thought to be unsophisticated, a hick or hill billy to wish someone the good of the day. Bermudians need to continue to set the example and not let this type of ill behaviour permeate our society. We must uphold and sustain this most significant aspect of our legacy and heritage.
Islam teaches us that good manners are a noble trait and such importance is placed on good manners that our dear, holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “No sin is more detestable to God than bad manners.”
Further, there are hadiths or teachings that again give great significance to the use of good manners; even mentioning that it will be a factor to be considered on the Day of Judgment. For example: “On the Day of Recompense nearest to me will be one who displays in one’s daily life the best of manners.”
Another narration backs this up: “On the Day of Reckoning, the most weighty item in the ‘Balance of Deeds’ will be good manners.”
Once a companion asked the Prophet, “What is there that takes a Muslim to Paradise?”
The Prophet replied, “Fear of God and good manners.”
In fact, it is said by our Prophet that, “The best of you are those who possess the best manners.”
So Bermuda, let’s continue to be our best selves and use our innate good manners; let the “Good mornings” resound loud and clear for all to hear!
Let us never become so arrogant that we can’t say “please” and “thank you”, after all, impeccable conduct and manners are an important part of our heritage –– it is who we are and we are proud of it!
Have a happy, safe and peaceful Bermuda Day. Ameen.