The Importance of Manners

Sophia Thesson By Sophia Thesson, 19th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Teenagers

Where have our manner gone? Unfortunately, teenagers seem to get the blame for a growing epidemic and fear of exercising courtesy towards one another in society.

The Importance of Manners

Where have our manners gone? Do we not need to show some level of courtesy towards one another as a sign of our humanity?

While travelling to work every morning, you automatically anticipate that you will be disturbed by blaring music from iPods. Adolescents, totally ignoring any kind of social manners, and more often than not, pregnant women having to endure crowded transportation without anyone getting up to offer their seat.

The flip side is that some brave individuals who do attempt to uphold basic courtesy and offer their seat, receive rather indignant responses including being glared at in such ungracious ways for just being polite. Hence, its quite understandable that one would become cynical and follow the way of the masses to blend in to avoid humiliation for doing the right thing.

Ten years ago, I was partly motivated to move to London from continental Europe because I enjoyed the ‘please’ and ‘thank you love’ that echoed while I was on a bus or in a London tube line (metro). It is a shame that ten years down the line those small nuggets of manners have also been laid to rest, swallowed up by apathy and the general stress of the masses. As large cities become more crowded, and the next generation become totally numb to social responsibility, do we give up or is there still a chance to reverse the cycle?

Recently, on a TV show called QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, I heard that the most read book in the 18th century England, apart from the Bible, was a book on manners. How did we lose our interest in cultivating a pleasant and more stress reducing way of dealing with one another in our daily lives?

The answer is: living became a rat race, an overworked population haunted by increasing stress levels and no time to relax, leading to selfish self-preservation. The real tragedy is the generational gap that is left whereby parents, educators and society forgets to teach the next generation to respect and care for their fellow citizens, especially elders. We all play an active role in having lost a heritage of manners and rituals that create healthy communities.

To be honest, I in moments of total exhaustion or general frustration, while doing my daily commute, have also ignored offering my seat to someone more in need than I - Nonetheless, I do not think that all is lost, and I still believe in the merits of good manners that you receive through home training and constant reinforcement from societal interaction. Manners cannot be forced onto people, and the reality is that manners come from home training. I believe that this is where we all can make a difference as much as making that continuous effort to show respect to one another.

Children’s minds are like sponges and observing, a young child or adolescent, standing up for an older lady in the bus is a heavenly site. Such acts of respect and kindness coming from the next generation, automatically results in a sense of ease that can be felt by all. Just imagine, if the trend of apathy and fear in large cities, could be reversed by a slight shift of consciousness, put into motion by the next generation.

Manners are not about being polite to everyone and hiding behind rules. It is about exercising mindfulness and acknowledging one another in a respectful way.


Manners, Role Model, Teenagers

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author avatar Sophia Thesson
I enjoy sharing my insight and interest in various topics, including my professional knowledge of psychology and education.

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author avatar Greg Thomson
19th Jul 2010 (#)

Very good article, society's decline is a subject i could talk about for hours.

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author avatar C. Michael Davis
20th Jul 2010 (#)

Amen to this. I wish my grandchildren could understand exactly what you have said here. Very good.

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author avatar smoothoperator
21st Jul 2010 (#)

What an article...brings back memories of our times when manners simply existed and no one even had to think of it as a subject to debate upon.

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