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I have a true story to share — A man once came to Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said to him: “O Messenger of Allaah, advise me”, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not get angry.” The man then repeated his request several times; the Prophet continued to reply: “Do not get angry.” [2]

Good manners come to us by two ways. They can be innate. That is they can be naturally present in us since birth. Or they can be acquired–instilled in us such as through learning or by experience.

Have you ever thought about what having good manners means? And how having good (or bad) manners has affected your life?

Take a few minutes today to make three lists.

Designate the first list, “My Innately Good Manners”. Then write some good manners that you naturally possess.

Title the second list, “Good Manners I Have Learned”. Jot down some of the good manners that needed to be taught to you.

Label the third one, “Good Manners that I Struggle With”. List several of the good manners that you struggle to make a part of your personality and character.

Examine your lists. What three good manners do you think come the easiest for you? Why is that? What are your weakest top three? Why? How do you feel about your weaknesses? And about having them? And about having some bad manners?

I once read where good manners that are innate do not disappear from us. But the good manners that we learn can disappear (How to Acquire Good Manners by Sh. ‘Uthaimeen).

This indicates that we will fall short. But we need not be hard on ourselves about it. Acquiring good manners takes hard work. Practice. Effort.

It also means that friends and family need to encourage each other to persevere. To console one another. Help each other succeed. And offer reminders to keep at it.

Tell me, what do you think about that little list assignment?  What insights did you gain from it? What do you think about a family meeting –over a table full of fun food– where we all share the good manners we struggle to maintain?