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Students should use polite speech because it facilitates interpersonal communication analogous to greasing wheel bearings. And, polite speech, as a component of good manners, fosters feelings of comfort and respect. Wheel bearings are greased to avoid friction as the wheel turns, much as polite speech reduces friction between people. Should there be damage to the wheel bearing gasket, the grease will thin from heat, leak out, and possibly cause a fire. Polite speech helps to circumvent drama-filled conflagrations.
In the book, Emma, by Jane Austen, a party gathers on Box Hill for a day of outdoor fun.
A game is suggested by Frank Churchill, in which each member of the group should offer Emma three thoughts, as follows: “one thing very clever…or two things moderately clever; or three things very dull, indeed.” Miss Bates happily stated that she would have no problem with the last requirement, as she would be sure to say three very dull things. To that, Emma responded, “Ah! ma’am, but there may be a difficulty.
Pardon me, but you will be limited as to number – only three at once.
As understanding of Emma’s meaning dawned upon Miss Bates, alarm and disgust grew within the other party-goers. Emma tried to defend herself afterward, could be neither defended not ameliorated. In an effort to mitigate the pain she had caused, Emma visited Miss Bates and Jane Fairfax early the next morning. Jane remained abed with a headache throughout the visit, while Miss Bates’s humility and kindness further reproached Emma’s rudeness.
Miss Bates met Emma’s rude comment with politeness, furthering Emma’s despair. All the which could have been avoided had Emma only used good manners and polite speech on the Box Hill trip. Polite speech may not be an invitation to intimate or lengthy conversation, but it does avoid confrontation. It shows respect to whom is spoken as well as to oneself. It is an important part of civilized society. It should forever be taught and practices within our families and schools.
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