When was the last time you heard a young child or teen-ager say, “Yes, Ma’am,” or “Yes, Sir,” to an adult? It’s almost unheard of these days, isn’t it?
My husband and I were both brought up saying, “Yes, Sir,” and “No, Sir.” And we raised our five children to do the same. Once they could talk, these words were part of their vocabulary. No questions asked.
When I was old enough to go out on dates, every young man who came to my house spoke to my parents in this respectful way. If one of them hadn’t, my father would have educated him.
I’m told that, today, we’re fortunate if they speak at all... or if they come inside. The majority of them, I understand, drive up to the house, honk the horn, your daughter yells, “see ya’ later,” runs out to the car and they drive away, only to return in the same manner a few hours later – if you’re lucky.
How often do you see a man open a door for a woman? A car door? My husband still opens doors for me after many, many years of marriage. I appreciate it very much! I’d like to see all men do it, but don’t see many.
Oh, how I miss good manners! The bad thing is, just like good grammar, if it isn’t learned early, it may never be.
What’s the answer?
I wish I knew. As far as I can tell, these things aren’t being taught in schools, and with both parents working in many families, it’s difficult to find the time to teach children extras like this at home.
There must still be a few left though – here and there. Mr. H. and I went shopping today and just as we started in the door of a store, a little boy, about five, on the other side, opened the door for me before Mr. H. had a chance. I smiled and thanked him. He beamed, looking quite proud of himself. His mother, father – or both – are doing a good job with the young child. That’s unusual these days. Let’s hope it takes – and lasts throughout his life.
One thing is certain; the only way to receive respect ourselves is to show it to others.