A Modern Woman is one who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.  You can count me among those women, with one caveat.  However much I want to keep up with the times, I still don’t want to sacrifice the traditional values and good manners I hold dear.  I aspire to being a modern woman with manners.

In striving to be that woman, I often have to remind myself of the basic manners my parents taught me.  Sometimes, in the rush to have and be it all, I forget things like saying “please” and “thank you.”  I actually have to force myself to slow down and smile at the cashier in the supermarket, make eye contact and say thanks. Here are some other things you can do to increase your modern manners:

Put Down the Phone

Modern times have also brought up new situations where manners need to be addressed.  Number one on the list is the mobile phone.  We all have that friend who never puts her phone down. In fact, on Christmas Eve one of my dinner guests clutched her mobile phone for the entire time she was at my home.  She repeatedly replied to texts and sent status updates while the conversation and wine flowed around her.  Not only did she miss truly experiencing the celebration but she offended my other guests with her behavior.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in a restaurant and seen two people, or even families, eating while everyone’s focused on their cell phone.  What’s the point of having a meal with family or friends if you’re only interaction is with an electronic device?  What’s a woman to do?  I’ll tell you what: be the first to put your phone down.  Silence it, if you have to.  And then request everyone else at the table do the same.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  If your child is sick and you’re waiting for a call from the doctor, answer the call.  Most times, though, it’s angry birds stealing the focus, not a sick child.

Put Pen to Paper

I’d also like to challenge the idea that faster is better.  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE getting snail mail.  When I open the mail box and find a card instead of a bill, it makes my day.  Email and facebook notes are great but they’re no substitute for handwritten notes.   And you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the message across that you really care.  This brings me to thank you notes.  They are quickly becoming a thing of the past.  However, in my book, they are the most effective way to not only show gratitude, but also to remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for.  It’s not a bad lesson—and a good habit—to pass on to the kids, either.

I’m all for the modern lifestyle and using technology as a means to streamline our lives, promote our businesses and stay in touch with the world around us.  But at what point does the enhancement of our lives get overshadowed by the constant barrage of communication that must be answered immediately?  I believe that, in the rush to stay current, we are missing valuable moments. The whole point of a modern lifestyle and technology is to give us MORE time for the people and things we really value.  So turn off your phone and computer.  Live the life you’ve been given with the people you love.  You’ll find they give you back so much more than any modern device ever will!