Diminishing manners do matter

Melissa Deeder

Melissa Deeder

Melissa Deeder
News Editor

I’ve been thinking a lot about manners lately and how their use seems to be diminishing as each generation passes. Manners go back to the 1600’s, originating in France. A proper social behaviour list drawn up by the nobles was called etiquette. It spread throughout Europe and was eventually adopted by the Western world. Centuries later, it seems to have fallen by the wayside

Courtesy, etiquette and straight up politeness don’t seem to be an important part of people’s lives anymore. Do people still open and hold doors for others? Do they give up their seats for the pregnant, elderly or disabled? Are parents even teaching their kids to respect others? These questions apply not only to  Canada, but all over the world.

Searching for an answer, I came across a poll with surprising results that, sadly, confirmed my thoughts. The Star Herald, a Nebraska community newspaper, was conducting a poll asking: “Do you think people have less manners today than they used to?”

Only 4.4 per cent of respondents said it’s the same; 0.6 per cent said no, there was more use of manners today and a shocking 94.9 per cent agreed that there are less manners today.

But why?

Everything happens in a gradual progression, like phasing out the use of last names, or sir and ma’am. But will dinner table manners be phased out over time as well? If so, what does this say about our future in regards to etiquette?

Let’s take it back to where manners start–at home, as a child. The Toronto Star article “How do you raise kids to have good manners?” said, “times have changed, but society should not deteriorate. Manners and respect are taught at home. It is one of parenting’s great responsibilities; to teach these values.”

I couldn’t agree more. It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their children manners. However, today, many families have two working parents, giving them less time to teach their children.

Are we too busy in our day-to-day lives to incorporate such simple kind words as a “please” and “thank you”? And is “too busy” really a good enough excuse?

Life’sPath360.com says, “Manners are a relevant and necessary component in a progressive and successful society.” People need to make time for manners.

Politeness says a lot about a person.

It’s important to have manners in your life. After all, doesn’t it feel good when someone does something nice for you? Or what about watching an act of kindness? It might make you feel good inside; it might even make you think that this world isn’t such a bad place after all.

The next time someone needs help with a door or drops their things on the floor, we should all take the time to remember our manners.