I feel saddened by the fact that common courtesy seems to be a rare thing these days. During a conversation between my son and me, I explained why I expected him to act a certain way towards others. I told him of the way things were when I was younger and that my parents held my behavior to a high standard because they felt that it was important to pass on the high standards held by earlier generations. Treating people with respect and politeness is not only the right thing to do but it also promotes feelings of gratitude and willingness to reciprocate a kindness. We discussed what might happen if I relaxed those standards while raising him and we both agreed that, as a result, he would have nothing to pass on to his future children. In the end, he understood why it was so important for me to hold his behavior to the same high standards that my parents had for me. High standards must survive every generation or we will lose them forever.
When I was growing up, my parents had zero tolerance for disrespect. We knew what they required of us, without fail.
- To say “Please” when making a request.
- To say “Thank You” for all acts of kindness, favors granted, gifts bestowed, compliments paid.
- To address our elders as “Sir”, “Ma’am” or using the appropriate title before their name.
- To speak when spoken to.
- To never interrupt when someone else was talking.
- To speak respectfully, without use of vulgarities.
- To never roll eyes for any reason.
- To respect the property of others ~ which included asking before borrowing something, taking care of the borrowed item, returning the borrowed item and to never risk damage someone else’s property.
- To never raise our voices to an elder.
- To remain quiet if we couldn’t say anything nice about someone.
We, as a society, shouldn’t accept discourteous treatment from anyone simply because “It’s how people are now.” We can’t afford to dismiss it as “people just not caring anymore.” I think we need to start caring again and teach future generations the value of caring. To live within a society of uncaring people is a scary concept.
Require courtesy. Require high standards of behavior.
Or think of the alternative. ☮