Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where are the mannerly?

I don't normally rant on this blog but today I must. I am so tired of rude, obnoxious people. It seems I am confronted by the ill-mannered more and more and I must wonder why this so. Is proper social behavior becoming a lost art? Some say that because we are such a melting pot that we must accept the behaviors of all peoples as those behaviors may be normal to the people committing the act. Now I ask, does that make any sense. It doesn't to me. Is there a group out there that does not want to be thanked, apologized to, be granted ease by having a door held or who appreciates being knocked over at the the sale rack or the entrance to a lavatory. Where was I when the rule changed on men not wearing hats indoor? ....or children calling adults by their first name, or having courtesy while driving?
Is it bad parenting that individuals grew up with no understanding of acceptable behavior? Was it the wild and crazy '60 when the call for tolerance among all groups was so strong that allowed people to be rude so they could make a point?
I don't know the answers but I wish I knew the response. I think it is to just continue to be as civil as you can in all situations.
I have been in several situations in the past few weeks while visiting out of state that just made my skin crawl ... like the woman who plowed right into me as I was walking out a door, then just looked at me and walked on but the car incident takes the prize. As I was driving, I slowed because there was a woman jay-walking with a small child. She should not have been jay-walking, especially with a small child but she was and I chose to slow to give her time to get across the street. The driver behind me saw this as an insult to his desire to get where he wanted to go and chose to start honking his horn and then pulled around me to more forcefully display his anger in gesture. Not only was this directed at me but also at the woman and child who the driver decided to yell at from his car window. The woman and child made it safely to the curb but the driver was now on a tear to make me realize he was unhappy. He quickly pulled in front of me and then proceeded to slow down and break. I eventually found my way out of this mess but was stunned at the rudeness and childlike behavior of this person. Obviously he was not in a hurry... and what kind of hardness would make a person so angry in such a situation?
The part that bothers me the most is that as I work to teach my child to be courteous, to be socially primed, to defer to adults and all the other niceties of proper social behavior, I fear it is sometimes thwarted by the acts of those who feel being ill-mannered is okay. I can only hope that what I am instilling in my child will be remembered and kept sacred long after I am gone.

I would love you to comment here so I could read your thoughts on this topic. Click on the link below to read an interesting article I found on the Emily Post website.

"One of the more noteworthy findings in the Public Agenda survey was how little respect rudeness has for boundaries: experiences with bad behavior were virtually the same whether one was from the North or South, rich or poor, living in a big city or a small town. "

2 comments:

  1. Oh Mari, so sorry. It's amazing how some of the smallest things can get people totally out of control and I'm always especially surprised at the people who show their anger by playing games with their cars.

    I've had a couple of customer service experiences (I use that term loosely) over the past couple of weeks that have made me want to tear my hair out. On the flip side, our house was recently broken into and I've been so touched by people--both neighbors and workmen, who have gone out of their way to help us straighten things out (and repair shattered doors and windows), etc. I do continue to believe in the kindness and goodness in most of us.

    And never for a minute think that you are wasting a second of time in teaching your son courtesy, respect, and good manners. Not only is he soaking it all in but I'm sure he's spreading it to others in any number of ways and I doubt that even the rudest encounter will undo that. Take care, Karen

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  2. Hey, Mari...you know where *I* stand on this subject. My life's mission is to bring "civil" back to "civilization" as you are so aware...

    Oops, phone ringing. Expecting a journalist to call...must to the interview in the hopes of spreading the word for a need to return to decent behavior and positive values.

    Best,
    - Corinne

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