Is Courtesy Still Common?

politeness-please-and-thank-you-manners-etiquetteMinnesota Nice:  

The stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered.  This includes such cultural characteristics as polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint and self-deprecation.  It can also refer to traffic behavior such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person. (Wikipedia) 

As a person raised in Minnesota, I have always heard the phrase “Minnesota Nice”.  Sorry to say, this is a fallacy.  Actually, “nice” in general is becoming extinct.

It’s strikes me as strange that we are constantly trying to teach our children how to behave in society…say please and thank you…wait your turn…share…if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all, etc.  Yet, we adults don’t always seem to follow our own advice.

While traveling abroad a few years ago, we witnessed one of the rudest men we had ever encountered.  He was so incredibly rude to a pair of young, French newlyweds that people actually gasped.  He was an older American man (notice I didn’t say ‘gentleman’ because he was not).

We live in a time when society urges us to get what we feel we deserve, what we feel we are owed, what we feel we are entitled to.  The cost of this attitude is a marked lack of common courtesy.  A table filled with diners who never speak to each other because they are all fiddling with their phones…a movie theater of personal-sized illuminated screens dotting the darkness…an interaction between a customer and a cashier in which the customer never acknowledges the service they’ve just received because they are on the phone.

I’ve never been so disheartened as when I come across these interactions and a child is witness to the behavior.

Courtesy costs nothing.  It should still be a golden rule to “do unto others as you would have done to yourself”.  My challenge is to make it a priority.  Let’s bring it back in full force. Put away the phones, hold doors open for the fellow behind you, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ whenever you have the chance.

When we quit being commonly courteous, we lose a real connection with our fellow men and women.  We lose the opportunity to model for our young people.

We lose.

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