Manners: a thing of the past??

I just recently came across a quote which read “Politeness has become so rare that some people mistake it as flirtation.”

Though I’m not sure I’ve encountered this problem recently, I do agree with the first part of the statement. As my husband knows, and probably tries to find the nearest set of ear plugs when I get on this topic, I cannot stand rudeness. Granted it’s not my only pet peeve but it does stand in line ahead of leaving the toilet seat up, being inefficient, or constantly finding a “new” place to leave the kitchen items.

I mean, I can’t be the only person who is irked by the deterioration of good manners in this country. Do you ever find yourself being annoyed when you wave another driver in and they don’t even wave back? Or how about when you open a door for someone and there’s not even the utterance of thanks? Or maybe you are one of the millions of people who seem so obsessed with what’s on their phones that they completely forget how to react around living human beings.

Well if you are then I have something to say to you. Believe it or not, the world does not revolve around you. I don’t have to open the door for you or let your car in or let you go ahead of me in line when I see you are standing behind me with two items and I have two weeks of groceries. Well, actually, maybe I DO have to. But it’s not for you I do these things, it’s because I am trying to teach my children the importance of politeness and how else would I do that if I’m not showing them? But it would be great if you could unbury your head out of your… phone… and say thank you back.

If you think I’m exaggerating about rudeness, I have a story which leaps to my mind. I was a new mom at the time and had not quite gotten down the getting my stroller and bags through the doors at a department store without the door banging on the stroller or me as I tried. (I’m a short person so trying to prop it open with my arm or my foot is probably humorous to anyone watching the security camera.) As many of us know, department stores often have multiple entry doors (presumably for the stampedes on black Friday) and in this case, there were seven (7!!) doors. I was struggling to get my bags and my stroller out the door when this woman pushed her way past me: through the door I was struggling to get out of!! She didn’t offer to open the door and even stumbled on the wheel of the stroller as she did so. I was so shocked, wondering if the other six doors were suddenly broken (they weren’t) that I called out after her; “You know, it’s bad enough you couldn’t offer to help, but really? You couldn’t open one of the other six doors yourself?!?” (new mommy hormones combined with lack of sleep helped my voice to carry out the annoyance I felt.) The woman didn’t say anything of course and I was left fuming over the incident. I just couldn’t fathom why people feel they are so much more important that they can’t take a second to help someone else and in this woman’s case, were an absolute hinderance.

It’s not easy to teach your child manners in a world that seems devoid of them. Having an intelligent older child, he will often ask me why he has to do something when the other children (or adults) around him don’t. Because “I said so” can only get me so far. It’s hard to explain to a child that you want them to be more polite than many of the people around them and that saying thank you, even when an adult blatantly does not, is still important. Saying please when asking should just be second nature.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you are the jerk who shoves their way past me instead of saying excuse me, I will call you out on it. Of course, saying that I’ll call you out on it is actually perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. I’ll probably mutter something like “Really, not even excuse me?” or turn to my son and say, “See, that was rude. He/she should’ve asked excuse me rather than shoving past me.” I mean, really? It’s two words; you don’t have time for two words? I’m sure you were thinking two words (probably not polite ones though) when I said something. All I have to say is that it’s really sad when a child knows how to behave better than an adult. I mean seriously. Even my two year old knows how to say thank you, please, or excuse me to strangers. (I mean, he might give me a hard time, like frequently mentioned in my blogs like here but at least he behaves well in front of other people.) My question to you is: Can you behave better than a two year old with a set of manners?


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About J.Peterson

By day, I'm a mom of two boys (three if you count my husband) and a childcare provider. My adventures in parenting and the real world are primarily what this blog is about. My alternate ego, the one who is in my book(s), is a scythe bearing, magnificent shoe wearing, Soul Harvester by the name of Genesis. Though she knows nothing about parenting, her sarcasm rivals even my own. If you enjoy my blog, check her out on Amazon under the title of Death Inc. The life and Times of a Soul Harvester.

3 responses to “Manners: a thing of the past??”

  1. bensbitterblog says :

    We are always making sure our kids say please and thank you and like you said it is quite a struggle sometimes when they see others around them not doing it.

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