July 21, 2011

Manners... coming to a house near you!

Picture this if you will:


An adult walks into a room in a not-too large centre where children are attending a physical activity class. The back wall is lined with chairs and all of these are full with people, both young and old. About half are parents with their other children, many of them pre-schoolers; the other seats are taken up by older students waiting for the next class to start.

The lone adult looks along the wall of chairs in the slim hope of finding a spare seat; her fruitless search is noted by most of the seated spectators.

BUT... and here's the reason for my post today.

Not one of those children stood up to offer their seat. That was bad enough in my mind, but worse, not even a parent prompted their child to relinquish their seat either. Instead, their backsides all remained glued to their chairs while they pretended not to notice and eventually, the adult chose to sit on the carpet for the duration of the 45 minute class.

I saw this happen a few months back and it honestly made my blood boil. I literally had to bite my tongue to stop myself from asking the parent next to me: 'Aren't you going to tell your 3 year old to give up his seat? He's not even sitting still anyway, ffs, etc.'  You know, as you would.


But it really irked me. And I couldn't stop thinking about it on the drive home. I sound rather old-school, I know, but when I was a kid, I was taught to show respect for my elders and one way to do that was by giving up my seat; it was rude to sit if they had to stand. To this day, I can't NOT stand up. It's almost ingrained in my psyche. But people don't seem to be like this anymore.


I mean really, it's all about manners, isn't it? And it's never too young to start, in fact it's better if you DO. When I first started school - and bear in mind, this was 40 years ago! - our school day began with the class lined up at the front of our desks, hands held straight out. This was so the teacher could check our nails (to make sure they were cut short and clean) after which we would reach into our pocket to pull out the clean, daily hankerchief our mothers were to have given us. Woe betide any poor sod who turned up hankie-less! Miss Paterson was not one to mince words, let me tell you.  (Just a side note to the Groovy Grandma, I don't know HOW you managed the endless supply of clean hankies but I was never without one. You have no idea how eternally grateful I am for that!)


I know things change over a period of time; that's normal and in fact, to be welcomed and expected. But at what cost? How hard is it to say please or thank you, open a door, help an old lady with her groceries, let a driver move into the lane in front of you, or simply give up your seat?


It's not hard, of course, at all. And, in an amazing co-incidence, it costs absolutely NOTHING!  How many things in life nowadays can you say that about?

And there are plenty of 'old' tarts like me who are more than willing to lead the way (read: anal about good manners, lol).  Just ask my kids -- they will all vouch for my devotion to duty, so to speak. :o)



"Common courtesy -- Makes sense, costs nothing."

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