Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Have we lost our manners?

Image Source: Google
As I sit here and write this, my one year old is sitting next to me eating his lunch.  We already work on manners and appropriate behavior with him, although his age does not cause me to expect him to be a gentleman at this point.  However, we do work on the manners that he does grasp, such as using the American Sign Language Sign for "eat" when he is hungry, as opposed to just screaming until someone gets him what he wants.  Does it always work?  No, but when he does start yelling, and I know he probably wants food, I will show him food and he will either do the sign or he will mimic me doing it and then I will give him his food in response to that.  It is certainly a start in the manners category.

I bring that up in order to bring this up: last night I stopped at the gas station while on my way to work.  As I walked in I noticed that someone was approaching the door from the opposite side of the building and was about 10 feet away from the door, so I stopped and held the door until they reached it and then when about my business.  A few minutes later, as I still tried to figure out what I wanted from the myriad of drink choices (hey this is a tough choice, I needed the right mix of caffeine and refreshment without the gut bomb effects of gigantic energy drinks) the woman approached me and thanked me for holding the door open, to which I replied that it was not problem at all and we went on our way.  She checked out and left and then I paid for my stuff and left as well.

This short and simple encounter left me with two thoughts; was this women so surprised and touched by such a small gesture that she was compelled to find me in the store just to thank me for that and what type of community have we become that it leaves people feeling like this women did that caused her to seek me out?  I have been holding doors open for people since I was in elementary school.  It was common courtesy to hold onto the door until the next person grabbed onto the door themselves.  Today it comes natural for me to do so, similar to driving a car or handwriting or any number of other things that we learned as children that we can now do without much thought.

Be mindful of what you teach your children.  What now seems natural to us is not necessarily natural to them and it must be taught.  Simple acts of kindness and gestures of respect for others is not something that we want to lose in our communities.  What are your thoughts and experiences with this issue?  How are you teaching your children to have manners?

I leave you with two quotes the first is from Science Fiction novelist Robert A. Heinlein.  He sums up nicely what I wished to convey but, as is the case most times, someone with better talent at the written word has done it beautifully
"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot..."
The second is from Science Fiction author Rebecca McKinsey and it should be the mentality we hope our children carry
"Being classy is my teenage rebellion."
Leave your thoughts, comments and questions in the comments section below.


1 comment:

  1. Love reading your post. Keep up the good work :)


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