Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2012

Immigration...history, respect and manners...

This transcript  of a comment about immigration policy by Australia's first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, was sent to me yesterday. I found the timing particularly interesting as I was reading this morning a newspaper report about one of the largest companies in Australia, Rio Tinto, launching today one of the single biggest recruitment drives in Australian history.   The shortage of skilled workers in Australia, during this current mining boom,  is so dire that the Federal Government this week revealed it would raise permanent migration levels by 5000 people annually.  The West Australian I have also been reading, and watching European TV news, about the role of immigration policies, particularly in the current French Presidential election campaign, but also the other countries of Europe.  While I have not visited for a year or so, I was aware of the underlying tensions raised about immigration in Switzerland, for example.                                      The year is 190

Children and the Must-Have Manners

Forget standing when women enter the room or calling all men ‘sir’- that’s behaviour from a forgotten time.  But what are the modern manners every child should have? The past century, particularly since WWII, has seen Western society move away from the highly stratified and rule-ridden days of the past.  Rules of etiquette which previously defined social status were largely abandoned and are now often regarded as unnecessary, old-fashioned or even snobbish.  We have increasingly embraced the notion of the free-thinking individual, unfettered by rules.  We emphasise the importance of good self-esteem and encourage children to express themselves freely.  We try to be open-minded and non-judgemental about different cultures and backgrounds. We mostly live in crowded urban environments.  Adults push in front of you to get on the bus, shout loudly into their mobile phones and act like it is a sign of weakness to let you into merging traffic. In going through my files, I rece

Breakups with Dignity, Songs...and Good Manners

Gotye singing "Someone That I Used to Know " I had a call this morning from a client which deeply disturbed me.  Because it touched a raw nerve. The client asked me about the manners of personal breakups.  In 2012 should the conversation be between the two people involved, face to face, or is it appropriate to initiate the breakup by SMS, or email? What about a voice message or a telephone call? Her husband of 25 years, a well known doctor, had sent her an SMS while she was attending a conference overseas saying that he had fallen in love with someone else and wouldn’t be home when she returned the following day. I took a few seconds to compose myself before answering her. I very rarely wander into the realms of personal experience when offering advice but I decided to share with her my experience;  and when I had told her my tale she encouraged me to talk about the manners of personal breakups on this blog because the impact of internet communication is hav

Boating, Yachties...and Manners...

The tranquil sailing club prior to departure (photo the author) I had a wonderful day yesterday.  My sister and her husband own a lovely power boat and they invited me to join them for a “Club Day”, when with other members of their Sailing Club we went to Garden Island, not far from Perth, to enjoy the ambiance of the island, it’s pristine waters, and each other’s company.   A boat follows us down the Swan River (photo the author) It was an opportunity to ask about the manners of sailing and what is expected from other sailors and what are established as “rules”. The rules are quite clear:  give way to vessels on the right of your vessel, power boats should give way to sail boats, boats should navigate a channel of water on the starboard side, etc. Lazy days...before a refreshing swim around the dinghy (photo the author) The etiquette, or manners are less clear, but as was explained to me, quite logical.  When in a small bay or inlet it is important to remember that those boats

The Family Nest ... returning Chicks and Manners....

The Chicks visiting the Nest It’s almost holiday time and families are accommodating children returning home to the “family nest” for Easter. But for many families, the older children are not actually leaving the nest, but remaining well into their twenties.  And the family manners code of behaviour has had to be reworked. I read an interesting article in The New York Times the other day which commented on a book by Katherine S. Newman, a sociologist and dean at John Hopkins University “The Accordion Family”(Beacon Press) which examines how the tough economic climate globally has limited the job prospects of many young adults and forced them to move back in with their parents.  The author found that a higher proportion of adult children now live with their parents than at any other time since the 1950s. And in my personal experience, the young adults in their 20s are remaining at university for longer, taking extra graduate degrees and so remaining at home while th