There are a few things southerners take seriously: college football (basketball is equally important in Kentucky), anything fried, and manners. As southern children, we are taught early on the value of writing thank-you notes, saying “please” and “thank you” and understanding the importance of proper etiquette in every situation.
Holding the door open for the person behind you, meals when someone has experienced a tragedy, and the distinctive “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” are simply a sign of respect that mean something in the south.
Children are a reflection, most times, of their parents. We want them to be on their best behavior when they are not with us; using those simple words at a friends sleepover, birthday party, or first job interview. We expect friends of our children to refer to us as Ms. and Mr. and to place their napkin in its proper place during and after a meal. I must admit that I have turned away candidates for positions because they didn’t seem to possess those simple skill sets. It’s true, even in the professional realm, manners reflect who we are, how we represent ourselves and the companies we work for.
Growing up in Lexington with a grandmother from Vicksburg, Mississippi, meant one thing….you better know how to sit at a dinner table and not embarrass yourself. She exuded southern hospitality in every way; from her strong southern accent to gifts like Emily Post’s Etiquette when I became engaged. It was a way of life for us really; I assumed everyone had Sunday night dinners to learn where your butter knife was placed. Those evenings could be long but one thing was for sure, by the time I reached puberty I could have shared company with the Queen herself. I am so thankful I had women in my life who valued such simple behaviors.
I have worked in marketing for 29 years, (WOW, I can’t believe I am admitting to that number) in Lexington, Kentucky. My desire has always been to create positive office experiences for clients/patients, which in turn, was another factor that led me to form Southern Hospitality Etiquette. There is truly nothing like walking into a business and having a friendly smile greet you making you feel you are the most important client; even if for a short time.
With social media, iPhones, and video games taking up such a huge portion of our time, my hope is to bring back some of the “basics” to the youth and adults of Lexington Kentucky and surrounding Kentucky counties through etiquette classes on how to become confident, self-assured, and influential leaders in our community.
“God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?”
― William Arthur Ward