Master your Manners!

Okay, is it me, or does anyone have manners anymore?  I teach my children to hold the door for someone, say thank you when someone says, “g-d bless you” after they sneeze, and to return a smile and a “good morning” to whomever initiates.  What frustrates me is that my issue isn’t with kids, it’s with the adults.

While I try not to let other’s actions decide my mood, it’s hard not to.  This morning as I opened my front door and headed to my car to put the backpacks and morning gear in the trunk, I smiled and said, “Good morning…how are yah” to a neighbor walking his dog, who lives down the street.  It was radio silence.  Perhaps he wasn’t as good of a mood as I was in, although I don’t recall really being in any mood.  Just being friendly and passing along a smile to a neighbor. How about a hand wave or a nod…some acknowledgment that I even exist.  Could he not have heard me?  It’s possible but even the dog turned and looked my way so it’s doubtful.  Apparently his dog has manners.

It bothered me for a moment and then my focus shifted back to getting the kids in the car to make the bus.  On with my day I went and still feeling generous, affable and patient, I waved a women by on my way home, who was waiting to make a turn.  I was no longer in a rush and figured if it was me, I would hope someone would be nice and let me in.  If it wasn’t for me, she would have waited a good five minutes for another opportunity.  Did I get a wave, a mouthed, “thank you” or a smile?  I GOT NOTHING!  I didn’t do it to get something but I wanted something…I needed some signal that people are decent, have manners and appreciate those who are kind.

I dusted myself off and decided I would still be me.  I would continue to be friendly and good-natured because that is who I am.  They say things happen in threes so here is my third example of ill-mannered people I encountered within an hour of one another on my Monday morning.  After dropping my youngest son off at school, a young woman nearly knocked me over as she was rushing to get out of the school door.  She of course didn’t care or say sorry, but since I could tell she was in a rush, I decided to hold the door for her.  Once again, nada.  I was beginning to think I was invisible and lost some faith, okay all faith, that humanity still exists.

Why was this happening and why did I care so much?  If we can’t count on grown ups to practice decent behaviors, how are they supposed to teach their kids to have proper manners?  A child not educated about saying please and thank you, is an adult who doesn’t say please and thank you.  Apparently, I encountered three of them this morning.

This afternoon on the way back from picking my boys up from school (yes, I drive a lot), I noticed a bunch of teens, waiting to cross a busy street.  Every car in front of me kept going and while there was no designated cross walk, I couldn’t believe no one was stopping.  I of course decided to end that pattern and hit the breaks.   After I honked to get their attention and waved them to go, I heard one of the girls say quite loudly in amazement, “WOW, I can’t believe it…thank you SO much for stopping”!  Not only was it a nice change to be appreciated, but it was validation that people need to step outside themselves, treat others how they would like to be treated and do something polite for someone else.  I remember trying to cross a busy street near my house when I was walking with a double stroller, a 50 pound dog and a giant belly as I was 7 months pregnant at the time.  No one offered to stop for me and I was truly appalled.  Any time I see a family, a student or anyone trying to get to the other side, I stop.

So I am asking…begging, that people be more aware of those around them.  Your bad manners and unwillingness to acknowledge someone else’s good deed affects those around you.  Take the time, which is only a mere second, to appreciate someone else who made your day brighter and easier, and then pay it forward.