We have lost our manners

November 14, 2011

I heard that on the radio the other morning, and I could not agree more. We seriously have lost our manners. “Please.” “Thank you.” “May I?” “Excuse me.” (without being immediately followed by “excuse you” from the other party) Opening and/or holding the door for someone. You know, simple common courtesies that have unfortunately become less-than-common.

 

My sisters and I were raised to use good manners. You say “please” and “thank you”. You address adults by “Mr.” and “Mrs.” You say “excuse me” after you burp or fart. That is, after we were glared at for daring to let out said burp or fart within earshot of others in the first place. You do not chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full. You do not rest your elbows on the table while you eat. You write thank you notes after receiving gifts. You look people in the eye when being spoken to. You do NOT talk back, especially in public. You do not lie. And you are overall generally obedient to your parents.

 

And I’m sure this will garner many groans and eye rolls, but for the most part we complied. We were, I think, pretty well-behaved children, and have grown into well-mannered adults. I’m sure my mom can provide plenty of instances to the contrary, but I’m speaking on the whole here. Mom.

 

I’ve noticed so often, though, that kids these days are just shitty. They’re rude, they’re disobedient, they’re immature (yes, even kids can have a certain level of maturity for their age), they’re violent, they’re mean, they’re beyond disrespectful, and they’re just plain jerks.

 

How has this happened? Have manners really become so pass√©¬†that parents can’t possibly be troubled to instill them in their children? Have we become so technologically advanced, absorbed, and jaded that it’s ridiculous to think we would bother to teach children such basic organic processes as good manners? Just leave it up to the computer or cell phone to do that for us? Is it really that hard? Nope. I don’t think so.

 

And when did this happen? When did it become so taxing to insert an extra word or 2 into your sentences here or there? When did it become uncool to be polite? When did we stop smiling at people as we pass? And god forbid anyone actually nods hello. No! Grumble, grumble, shuffle past. What the? Where are we living?

 

Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who orders by saying, “May I please have…?”; or says “thank you” to a compliment or good deed; or says “you’re welcome” to another’s “thank you”; or holds the door for someone behind me or someone who needs assistance; or hands someone something they dropped instead of walking by pretending not to see; or actually does try to look people in the eye as I walk by and say “hello”, or maybe just “hey”, but still, it’s better than staring blankly past them like they don’t exist? Am I crazy for doing all these things? I guess it doesn’t really matter if I am, for I’ll still do them. I was taught it’s just what you do. It’s not some big, unusual occurrence, not something that needs to be rewarded with a gold star each day. You just do it.

 

Anyone want to join me on a crusade to re-manner the world? Ok, maybe not the whole world, but at least re-manner our own little corners of it? I fully intend on raising D to use good manners. Nothing would crush me more than to see her growing into one of the foul-mouthed, ill-mannered, bad-tempered little hoodlums I see running around, pissing me off. Because really, that’s not the sign of a truly bad kid. I don’t think kids themselves are inherently rotten. That’s the sign of an extremely poor parenting job.

 

Thank you.

 

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

shellthings November 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

I’m totally with you. What really amazes me is how kids don’t respect adults as much. I’m sure there were some kids who were little punks back when we were growing up- but for the most part, if a teacher or any other adult had told us to do something, we felt like we had to listen to them.

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_ScooterMarie November 14, 2011 at 8:25 am

@shellthings YES – exactly! I have no idea why this has gone by the wayside. I honestly sometimes feel like I’m the only person who thinks good manners and general politeness are important when I see gaggles of crappy kids running rampant. It’s like their parents just threw up their hands and said oh well, forget it, they’re just gonna be brats. Especially with the lack of respect for adults.

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mamaonmission1 November 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

Oh lady, you are so right! We were at a 2-year-old’s birthday party last weekend and there were two brothers there that were so misbehaved, had no respect for anyone around them, barreled over the other kids, ruined the toys of the children who owned them. And their parents didn’t pay an ounce of attention. It was so disturbing.

In fact, Mox was playing with a toy and the mother of the boys said to me “we used to have one of those but the boys kept shoving things in it that didn’t belong in there and it broke”. An hour later, Mox tried to play with it again… there was a bunch of shit in it that didn’t belong there. Hmmmm… wonder how that happened? Jerks.

Mox has a birthday party coming up in a few weeks and they will NOT be receiving an invitation.

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_ScooterMarie November 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

@mamaonmission1 Good! It is exactly those idiot children to whom I was referring here. And I really do think it comes from the parents – how can you feel good when you see your kids doing crap like that?? I just don’t get it.

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fourplusanangel November 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I completely agree. We are very big on our kids saying please and thank you inside of the home and out. I am amazed at how rude other kids can be. My SIL, who is extremely strict with her kids does not teach them manners at all. They are well-behaved but never say please or thank you. For me, that totally defeats the point.

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_ScooterMarie November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

@fourplusanangel I agree! Why bother with the discipline if they can’t even use their manners? Seems those 2 would (or should!) go hand-in-hand.

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thehhhousewife November 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I am basically insane about forcing my kids into being polite. Every request must come in the form of “May I please…” and they are always being prompted to say “thank you” and “excuse me.” There are endless discussions about what is appropriate or not at the dinner table and how to be generally well mannered. They don’t always succeed, but damn if I’m not trying.

Reply

_ScooterMarie November 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm

@thehhhousewife Yes, thank you! Great work!! I just simply do not understand why some parents think manners are unnecessary.

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