The child was a typical four-year-old girl – cute, inquisitive, bright. But when she expressed difficulty in grasping the concept of marriage, her father decided to pull out the wedding photo album, thinking visual images would help. One page after another, he pointed out the bride arriving at the church, the entrance, the wedding ceremony, the recessional etc. “Now do you understand?” he asked. “I think so,” she said, “…is that when mommy came to work for us?”
A few years ago, internationally-acclaimed Canadian concert pianist, Wonny Song, attended a reception in Paris, France. The host’s thirteen-year-old daughter greeted arriving guests at the door and made proper social introductions. “She could speak to ambassadors, artists, business people – anyone and everyone. It was really quite impressive,” recalled Song, vice-director of the Lambda School of Music and Fine Arts in Montreal. Inspired by this encounter, Song has started a new summer program for younger teenage girls. Dubbed, “Wife Camp” by critics, the goal is to instill poise, grace, and confidence in young ladies. For two weeks they will learn how to improve things like their – posture, voice, table manners, conversation skills, wardrobe choices, makeup application, hostessing skills, and music appreciation. “We see a lot of young girls who could benefit from a program like this,” says Angela Chan, director of Lambda and co-creator of the camp. “They need to develop their presence.”
The bottom line? Manners is exactly what the Word of God teaches. In Paul’s letter to Titus (2:1-8) we read:
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Now, if we could just get some of the zero-percent interested-in-manners boys, even just one or two of them, to learn some of the social graces! (
● That our private parts should remain private.
● That one’s undergarments should not become outer garments.
● That our bodies are holy and sacred and our clothing should not reveal what should be concealed.
● That virtue is the most important “must have” for every season.
● That being healthy, physically fit, clean, and well-groomed is always in style.
● That we should support retailers, designers, and magazines that support virtuous behavior.
● That we can be pretty without being provocative.
● That a real model is a “role model”.
● That our clothing sends a message to those around us and we should reflect our dignity as children of God.
● That we begin to change the world by changing our hearts, our minds, and our clothes.