What happened to a simple show of respect? | Letter to the Editor

As a society, when did we stop being kind, considerate and careful to adhere to the most basic expressions of manners and consideration for people we encounter every day.

Let me start with good manners. When did it become acceptable for men to wear hats inside buildings and at meal tables, both public and private? When did parents stop teaching boys to take off hats inside a home or building? Why are we seeing grown men on TV shows wearing cowboy hats or baseball caps, some so low their face is partially covered?  Why didn’t they remove their hats the moment they walked inside the building? Baseball caps today seem to be as much a part of the wardrobe as shoes.

Why aren’t people saying “excuse me” when they walk between you and your companion, or actually bump into you; or thank you if you hold a door for them? What is their thinking that makes them totally ignore a courtesy and act as if your courtesy was their right.  When did please, thank you, and excuse me become an acknowledgement only in our memory? Why aren’t manners important anymore?

How many homes today have meals together as a family with a rule that no devices are at the table and must be ignored during the meal? It is common to see people in restaurants silent, staring at their phones. I was given a tip when our children were in middle school. Every single night, no matter what was on the menu, the whole family should eat at the table and enjoy the meal by candlelight. What an amazing experience that turned out to be for our family. The candlelight brought everyone to calmness.  Everyone was relaxed and there was actually more conversation, even from the normally sullen teenagers.

Now for the worst display of bad manners that seems to be so prevalent today. I saw a posting on Facebook about interrupting others when they were speaking. I was totally surprised at how many people (laughingly) acknowledged “Oh I do this all the time.” Really? Why? I heard once that “No one wants to hear your story, they only want you to listen to their story,” I am sad to say this appears to be true. How many times have you tried to have a conversation with someone only to be interrupted so many times you eventually just gave up. How is that having a conversation? What happened to everyone getting a chance to speak and everyone else listens respectfully? Why is it OK to interrupt a friend speaking, effectively telling your friend, “you are boring, you listen to me.”

I do hope this is just a passing phase that will soon correct. We must learn to respect and show kindness to one another. A smile and kindness go further to make our interactions with others less contentious. When did we get so mean spirited and full of ourselves?

Norma DeVita