We strive to teach our children good manners from a very young age. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘sorry’ play a big part in our daily lives.
Do we succeed in our quest? Taking a train ride a few days ago, I started to question whether a vast proportion of our adult population has any idea about the not so novel concept of politeness and manners.
The generation of our parents and grandparents have fought hard so that we grow up respecting the elder generation and our peers. We were taught to give up your seat in public transport to someone elder or a pregnant women. We were taught not to push and shove in queues, not to talk back, not to be rude and to teach our kids the same principles.
As the train took off from my station, I witnessed the following scene. A little boy was rolling on the floor kicking the legs of those around him whilst his mother was too busy talking on the phone and typing on the iPad. A heavily pregnant woman was standing next to a seat occupied by a school boy, who pretended to ignore her. An elder with a walking stick looked like he was supporting the doorway and would fall down any minute then and once again no one even blinked an eye to think of giving their seat up. In addition to an already disappointing scene, a young man got up and gave his seat to an attractive business woman on the other side of the train carriage, at which point she took the seat without saying a word.
What happened to our society? Manners have always been a universal code of conduct by which standards are set for what is considered to be acceptable behavior. Losing one of the essential building blocks that helps us interact peacefully and with respect we may be heading for total chaos.
As for me, I will say thank you to strangers for random acts of kindness, I will gladly give my seat up in public transport, I will respect those around me and I will teach my children the same concept. We need to wake up and realise that by losing manners we lose respect for ourselves and disintegrate the common base on which our country and our nation operate. Thank you for reading!