Where are our manners?

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

Manners, etiquette, home training — whatever your term of choice for polite social behavior, we seem to have lost something along the way.

Here’s a test:

  • Have you ever said “yes” or “no” only to have someone respond, “Yes, what?”
  • Were you ever corrected for having your elbows on the dinner table or chewing with your mouth open?
  • Have you known the wrath of an angry parent when you dared disrespect an elder?

It’s easy to blame the generation currently coming up for the decline in good manners. Those millennials and Generation Z kids make pretty convenient scapegoats for most anything. But if we want to really cast blame, we need only look in the mirror.

As a society, we have lost the practice of politeness and the basic habits of being respectful to other people. We don’t care much for kindness and consideration, and it’s pretty sad.

Part of it comes from the changing nature of how we interact with other human beings. For instance, if you’re on social media, take a look at any of the comments sections, and you’ll find the worst of humanity’s meanness and ignorance. Hiding behind a screen, the people will say just about anything, no matter the impact it has on another person.

So the tough question is, how do we fix it?

Firstly, those who remember their manners should try and be an example to others. A small dose of courtesy can go a long way.

Secondly, the ones who interact with children should try to instill those manners in the next generation. That’s not to put it on our teachers, however. They already have plenty to worry about teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Parents and family members, you’ve got to step up.

Finally, at the end of the day, it goes back to the age-old golden rule. Are you treating others the way you would want to be treated? If not, take a step back and adjust accordingly.