Brace yourselves, folks, I'm hauling out the soapbox today. The topic at hand? Good manners, or the lack thereof in today's society. This one's been simmering for a while and I finally had to let it out.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. That in itself is a depressing activity these days, when I feel as though I start bleeding money the moment I walk through the doors. What makes it worse, though, is the overwhelming lack of good manners. What happened to simple phrases like "excuse me", "thank you", or "I beg your pardon"? I'm beginning to dread going shopping, simply because I'm tired of being treated as though I'm invisible. People cut me off, walk between me and whatever I'm looking at/reaching for, bump into me, you name it...and never an "excuse me" do I hear.
Please understand that I am not a fan of excessive formality. However, a little common courtesy is rather like oil on the gears of society - it keeps things running smoothly and comfortably for all involved. How many times have you walked out of a store or event feeling frustrated by others' rudeness? I'd bet it happens far too often. And let's face it, folks, there is no reason for it.
My father, in particular, was a stickler for good manners and respectful attitudes. "Please", "thank you", "excuse me", and "May I..." were programmed into Melinda and I from the beginning, as well as respect for others and their belongings and beliefs. Jon and I have tried very hard to continue that teaching with our kids. When one of my children says "Excuse me, sir" or "Can I help you with that?" to an older person, and the individual looks at them in astonishment, I'm saddened to realize that a polite youngster is an oddity in our society.
I would propose that we all take a little more care with how we treat others, and teach our children to do the same. It's one of the easiest things we can do to help make our world a nicer place to live. Don't let courtesy go the way of the dodo, or the "dodos" will take over the world - and who wants that?