Saying please and thank you. Holding a door open for someone. Not wearing a hat while you are eating. Allowing someone to jump ahead of you in a line-up. Not bumping into someone as you walk past them. Saying excuse me when you burp. Not interrupting someone as they are speaking. Addressing people properly. Not swearing in public. Offering a seat to someone on the bus. Respecting your elders.
This is a small fraction of what many people would refer to as good manners. Many people, especially today’s seniors, grew up hearing these simple rules over and over from their parents and grandparents.
Many seniors lament on the fact that young people have no social graces and that good manners no longer exist. Are these golden rules simply being ignored or are they idealisms of the past?
There’s no doubt that as times change so does etiquette. Maybe, just maybe it’s okay to eat with a hat on. However, following the rules of the past on when it comes to proper etiquette is for most people still a sign of respect. Minding your manners means that you’re not a rude or thoughtless person.
Quite often, in-depth conversations on our seemingly mannerless society are hot topics in the coffee shop. In fact, just recently there was a comment in the Brandon Sun’s Sound Off berating people for being discourteous. The contributor went so far as to question whether or not they were just old-fashioned in expecting people to be more courteous.
“In my mind, being gracious and having good manners is not out of style and never will be,” said Jody Kehler, Senior Living Specialist.
Many will likely agree that society as a whole has become laxer in social graces, but that doesn’t mean that we have to give up on good manners completely. The question is though if there is a lack of good manners, shouldn’t our mentors be held somewhat accountable for that? Perhaps those born in the pre-Generation X, Y or Z era need to take more ownership in teaching people proper manners. The question is, how do you do that without sounding like you’re preaching or seen as an old fuddy-duddy, stuck in archaic times?
“I think the key for seniors is to never give up. Continue to point out proper etiquette even if it means feeling uncomfortable in potentially offending someone, and always practice what you preach,” said Kehler. “If seniors want to be respected, they must be respectful as well. Keep teaching your grandchildren (and even your adult children) that having good manners is still important and will have an impact on their future.”
Seniors must also be mindful that technology has changed the way that people interact. If you’re expecting a thank you card from your granddaughter for a gift you sent her, the expectation should be that the appreciation and gratitude may come in the form of a text message, email or maybe, just maybe, a Skype/FaceTime/Facebook Messenger call, rather than a handwritten note.
And while we sometimes get hung up on the fact that the youth of today seem to be mannerless, we must keep in mind that Canadians are often mocked all around the world for being overly apologetic, overly polite. That must count for something, perhaps not all is lost!