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New Year, New Awareness

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While cleaning out some files recently, I found an article I had written in 2003. When I read it again, I realized it had application for today. The original article was entitled "Have our Manners Disappeared?" Some of it is paraphrased here. 

What did we bring with us as we crossed over into 2000? Many great things, to be sure; unprecedented medical advances, instantaneous communication, availability of education and travel, just to name a few. But, did we also bring some things that aren't so great; school shootings, lack of tolerance for others, road rage, instant gratification, a need to get ahead, and once there, no time to enjoy it.  

In 1996, an article in US News and World Report stated that 'Nearly 90% of Americans consider rudeness a serious problem in our society.' In 2002, Public Agenda released a survey with the same results. If we were to commission a similar study today, I'm sure the results would be the same or worse. 

How did this happen? Were we all sleeping while our courtesy, civility, and social skills slipped away? Have we lost our awareness of the necessity for basic kindness, decency, dignity, and good old-fashioned manners in the fast paced world we live in? We all believe that a civilized society should be identified by kindness and consideration for others. Though customs differ from country to country, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood, the underlying desire to treat one another with respect remains the same. Courtesy has never, and hopefully, will never go out of style. 

The Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated, is the standard we should strive for, and should teach our children. We are seeing a need to insure that our children learn the social skills necessary to be confident and successful in life. We need to replace rudeness with respect: Starting in our homes and families; our neighborhoods, schools and communities; our places of worship, work and play; as we share services and space and travel the world

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