“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It all boils down to respect, consideration and honesty. It’s that simple. Am I a dinosaur an extinct form of mankind, the kind that still opens a door for a lady, walks on the outside of a path, respectful of our elderly, uses my mobile phone in a manner that is not rude in the company of others. I believe social media in general is a positive attribute to society but I do not use it as a platform to ram my opinion onto others, I do not feel it necessary to be unkind and hide behind a screen to voice my dislike for one of my 1200 friends of which I probably know only 200 and my real friends are 10% of that figure. No, if I find myself in a position of unhappiness I will discuss it face to face or if they are toxic walk away from them. There is a very fine line between extreme rudeness and harassment and bullying. Actually we have invented new sayings for acts of bullying and harassment, one such saying is “road rage”.
I am not a right winged misogynist desperately stuck in the 1920s. I have just noticed as a society nobody checks himself or herself and thinks, it just comes straight out of their mouths without care or consideration. Bad manners are now the norm. My earliest memory of witnessing behaviour, which I knew was not right and should be not accepted, was watching American tennis star John McEnroe and his outburst on the tennis court and his complete disrespect for opponents, spectators, and television viewers. I wonder what was going through Bjorn Borg head. It is hard to believe he was allowed get away with it and let continue to compete and become a role model for youngsters. TV chef Gordon Ramsey is another personality that has managed to earn a career out of rudeness. What kind of example are we setting for our children if this behaviour is acceptable and even promoted?
Contempt for authority is endemic, aggressive citizens roam the streets at night in a competition to see who is the most obnoxious and has no respect for public or private property. It is “mine” and “I will take” or just destroy. The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C have not surprisingly confirmed that playing violent video games can link to aggressive behaviour. The games, they say, are one way in which children are exposed to aggressive actions over examples of empathic and sociable behaviour, and that it is an “accumulation” of such factors that are likely to influence behaviour.
“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” http://www.apa.org/pi/families/review-video-games.pdf
As I follow the daily media commentary with reference to “Brexit” it disturbingly reminds me of divorce. I feel sorry for the children stuck in the middle, no fault of their own as each side accuses one another with elevated voices trying to impose their point of view criticising the other person, exaggerating their short comings in a competition to see who is the rudest. The child being dragged into a war of words a choosing of sides and even though they don’t know nor understand what they are arguing about they are excepted to come to a conclusion. There is and will never be any winners, no victory laps just collateral damage and a broken family. Children left believing what they have witnessed and experienced is acceptable behaviour.
Is it too mush to expect people to cover their mouths when sneezing, refrain from spitting or even stand up when greeting a fellow human with an outstretched hand to shake? It is such a shame little value is held with regard to experience otherwise we might listen and hear what our elderly have to say.
Cultures vary their greetings, clothing, expectations about how children should behave, numbers of husbands or wives, beliefs in god, gods. People celebrate but also go to war about these differences. I have had enough of bad manners and believe and expect that good manners are timeless and I hope they will become fashionable once again and sooner rather than later. As parents we have a responsibility to our children and society to consistently educate them in good manners and when you receive bad manners never lower your standards. Other role models such as teachers, celebrities, politicians, world leaders and those who are responsible for online social media have a huge part to play to ensure our values of civilities does not vanish for good.
In the meantime we as parents must not fail or children and society and educate our children how to act in public, how to care and how to be polite? Ignorance cannot be accepted as an excuse nor alcohol or drugs. Just because the world is a busy place is not an excuse not to say “please” or “thank you”.
“It’s a pity so many of us persist in regarding politeness as being merely a superficial social grace instead of what it really is, namely one of the necessities of life. Quite apart from politeness for its own sake, and as a matter of plain justice, it is invaluable as a sort of cushion or buffer to hold off the jolt that would otherwise disrupt the harmony of things.” Zealandia.