Manners Matter

April 1, 2013 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

I belong to an era where men opened doors for women and children, trash was thrown into garbage cans, and men removed their hats when they entered a building. Women and girls also ‘dressed up’ to go shopping. Dressing up meant my hair was freshly shampooed and curled (by my grandmother), I had on a nice dress, anklet socks, black patent leather shoes and white gloves. We usually took the bus to the “Loop” and visited Marshall Fields and several other stores located on State Street in Chicago.

Dressing up to shop or dine changed dramatically by the late 70’s and early 80’s, and our societal rules relaxed, where people became comfortable dressing (and acting) more casually. Now it’s not uncommon to go to a restaurant to dine and see people dressed in sweats or very casual outfits, including men wearing hats while they eat, or women wearing hair rollers or night caps. I have even seen men keep their hats on during Christian worship services. Don’t get me wrong, I love dressing casually too. But I wonder if being more casual has resulted in a general loss of manners? It’s one thing to dress casually, but today some people empty trash from their car onto the street. It doesn’t matter whether it is emptying the ashtray or an empty McDonald’s bag. You open the window of your car, and throw it out. It’s also not uncommon for people to spit on the street; walk their dogs and leave the remains on your grass, or curse you out for driving too slowly. Last Sunday, a man was asked to remove his hat during church service and instead of removing it, he left the church. What kind of world are we living in?

While each of these events is random and unrelated to each other, I can’t help wondering how our actions are affecting today’s youth. They are watching us – the adults in their lives. Is our lack of civility and good manners reasons that many of our youth are disrespectful and disconnected from us?


C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parenting Coach

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
How to Turn Your Princess Into a Queen – The Art of Raising an Awesome Daughter available in late spring, 2013

Entry filed under: civility, manners, morals, Parenting. Tags: , .

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