Manners, where have they gone?

Over the last 2 weeks of school holidays, I’ve become more cranky than usual, today I realised why. Manners….. or lack thereof.

Now I was always taught to use manners, to be respectful, polite and kind to others. It’s just the way I was brought up. I had presumed that everyone was taught the same at home. I certainly hope that I’m doing the same with my sons. Although as teenagers, they don’t always respect their mother whilst at home, I generally get feedback that my boys are well behaved and have lovely manners whilst out. Thank God! I’d voluntarily relinquish my parent listener if that wasn’t the case.
But what do most people think manners are? Do the youth of today even know what having manners means? I don’t know whether it’s my emerging old woman crankiness, the fact that over half the population are now younger than me, or that people are just plain devoid of the ability to use manners. But I seem to come into contact with some very rude and ill mannered people of late.

People don’t hold doors open for others and kids don’t stand up on public transport for the elderly, disabled or heavily pregnant. In general people seem to be wrapped up in their own little bubble. Unaware, or just don’t care about people around them. What happened to “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”?? Or for those who don’t speak fluent bible. “Treat everyone as you would like to be treated”

What I’ve noticed whilst out and at work, is that not many other people have been raised with the same emphasis on manners. There’s no please and thank you. I’m lucky if I get eye contact. And if the patient remembers my name after looking after them for hours on end, I’m ready to set off fireworks and shower them in gifts! But those patients are few and far between. I’m not expecting gifts for doing my job, and I understand in an emergency their minds aren’t in the right place, they might be in pain or scared, or both, I really don’t expect anything from them. But it’s the non emergent patients and family. The ones that really should have gone to their GP, but still want to be seen and treated within minutes of their arrival. The ones that seem to forget that we have limited staff and other patients that need our assistance before we see them. I’m not asking for much, other than a please and thank you occasionally.

And don’t get me started on the drivers on the roads. When have we become so unAustralian that we no longer give the nod of acknowledgement when we someone flashes their high beams on letting us know of an upcoming speed trap, or a thank you wave when someone lets you in?

Surely I’m not the only the only one out there that still nods and waves! Dean and I have made a game of it. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the wave. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the thank you wave. But it’s a bit like Christmas eve, you’re all excited, waiting for Santa to come…… then you realise you’re an adult and Santa’s not coming and you’ve got to supply the presents and cook and clean and go through bed exhausted. Waiting for acknowledgement is a bit like that.

So tonight when I go to work, I’m going to up the ante. I’m going to let in as many people as I can on the drive to work, smile and say please and thank you as much as humanly possible and be thankful that I’m at work. If good manners can rub off and make a good impression on one person. It’s worth it.

So get out there and be nice, thoughtful and well mannered, people. Don’t get cranky and cynical like me xx

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