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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,343,683  

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Question of the Week: 81 - 10/13/2002

ExCUSE Me! Has Common Courtesy Become A Thing of the Past?

Is it just me or are people crabbier, ruder and less courteous than once was the norm? Have you ever received an email without any sort of greeting or salutation, but which ‘demands’ that you must do such-and-such for him/her and right now as well? Or perhaps had a parking spot stolen? Been given the one-finger salute? Been behind the person in the ten-items only line who has at least twice that amount? (C’mon! I know that you count them, too!) Held the door open for someone who obviously thinks that it must be your job or something and so has no need to thank you for YOUR courteous gesture? Tell us your horror stories! What can we do to make the world just a little better mannered? For some background info, talking points and helpful suggestions, see: Courtesy by Chuck Gallozzi.

 Reponses:   There are 97 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

True. Oct 13th. at 6:43:01 pm UTC

Storm's Feather (Russellville, Arkansas) Age: 16 - Email

Manners are becoming a thing of the past, as i have noticed at High School.
To me, manners are eye contact when someone is speaking, and not talking when they are. Because my mother and father drilled me in calling them Ma'am and Sir, i tend to not call anyone it. Eh, i'm a teen, what do you expect? Actually, i'll "suck up" to a Substitute or a judge and call them Ma'am or Sir, but usually, it's only once.
Not too many students ever say "Yes, Ma'am/Sir" to the teacher, but a lot of people will kindly hold the door for people, and many people give a nod, or a "thanks".
Manners haven't disappeared, they've just changed. We use lingo-manners around people we know, and formal manners around adults and "important people", like bosses.
People who are openly rude, the lady in the line thingy and the one-finger salute, should try to follow the rules placed before them; it's for everyone's convenience. The salute: people should understand that it's so overly used, nobody cares anymore, or shouldn't care. The really rude people who use that need to get a life and take a manner's class. Use only the gestures you would use around your grandmother, if in doubt.

"Common" Courtesy? Oct 13th. at 8:34:10 pm UTC

The Black Fox (Minnesota) Age: 40 - Email

I do agree that the world has become more and more crass, rude and plain "me first" in attitude, yet I must take exception to the notion that the Ideal of Chivalry has ever been "common". The concept of Chivalry, as well as the practice of such, must be LEARNED - it is not something to which anyone may be blessed with instinctively.
The only possible solution I can see for this problem is for people everywhere to step back and consider how they would like to be treated, and treat all others in like manner.
Imagine, how the world would be if everyone were to act, at all times, in the manner which their chosen - and declared - religion demands........................

Who Are You? Oct 13th. at 9:04:58 pm UTC

Solas (Jonesboro, AR) Age: 31 - Email - Web

Who rude is, is as rude does.

Some that I know are very rude because they believe themselves to be entitled to be rude. Some that I know are rude because their God empowers them as being immuteably correct in all that they do. Some that I know are polite because they know the inheirent rewards of receprocity. Some that I know are polite because their parents taught them to be polite... or else.

I find that a polite relationship is earned through being someone who earnes respect. Some are rude to me because I am either male, white, pagan, not-so-young, or simply because they don't like themselves. The only successful way that I have ever found to deal with these people is to realize that they are simply people who feel that they need to create space from me and then begin to build or earn their trust and then by-way their respect.

Some I only see for a brief moment on the highway as they speed past and cut others off, others I only see as they stuffily hurry past to the next item on their personal agenda. For those I can only wish blessings, I see their obituaries every week. It must be a sad, lonely life.

Rudeness, A Thing Of Humanity Oct 13th. at 10:46:36 pm UTC

Trench Wolfhound (Augusta, GA) Age: 23 - Email

Yes, people these days can be rude. But, do we really think it would be any more rude than it was long ago? It's like the same question of are people having sex at younger ages than ever before. But, how old were Romeo and Juliet? It was just more acceptable in those days. So, are we more loose in what we where, what we say and what we do? Or have we actually become more stringent? I'd say both. In some instances, yes, we're a bit more obscene, as it takes more to offend most people now than it did before. Years upon years ago, a naked leg would be considered offensive. But, where people have gained thicker skin (which is good) are also now left with having to result in greater gestures to actually get their offensive point across (which is bad). Yes, alot of people these days are rude, but if you ask are they more rude than ever before? I wager not. Rude in a different way, perhaps. But, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the barrel. How many of you would say you're generally rude? Probably not too many. But, how many of you have done a thing or two rudely to another person at some point or another? Maybe it was just road rage, maybe it was just a bad day for you. But, look around. How many people are just minding their own business? Or how many people are actually being considerate? We don't really acknowledge these people because it's expected that they do those things. But, when someone treats us less than we would care for, then it becomes well noticed. It's not that everyone's more rude, but just that we more tend to notice the rude ones, and judge the population in general by them. Just for a day, watch your surroundings carefully. Look at who was considerate, who was rude, and who was just going about their own way, not bothering either way. I still have faith in humanity.

We The Victims...... Oct 13th. at 10:59:57 pm UTC

Diama White (Wayne, MI USA) Age: 46 - Email

I am not sure where to start with this question, this being my main pet peeve. We seem to be in the society of victims. "Oh poor, poor pitiful me."
I supervise at a large clinic in the Detroit area and can't believe the way people want to blame others ALL the time. No one seems to want to take ownership of themselves or their actions. In fact, to sum all I want to say here in one sentance, most people lie.
It is up to we pagans to show the way by our own example.
(I can't finish all I wanted to say at this time...)

Rudeness...A Learned Behavior? Oct 14th. at 6:49:34 am UTC

Shauna J Thomas (Okinawa Japan) Age: 22 - Email

How can we blame the problem of rudness on anyone but ourselves? Courtesy is something best learned at a young age. In order to provide well for a family, both parents usually work. This means that the children are turned over to Day Care centers whose staff is overworked and underpaid, and then leglisation restricts their ability to effectively manage young children by outlawing simple but effective discipline measures (I am not refering to anything physical). After Day Care our children are turned over to the educational system. I won't start a rant about that...But can you see the point? We don't take the time to teach our children the finer points of courtesy (other than please and thank you) and then later condemn them and others like them for our lack of guidence/training/conditioning.

Look At All Of Us Oct 14th. at 9:56:27 am UTC

jessi (new orleans) Age: 21 - Email

sure, it's easy to call for people to be more polite. but what does that really mean? as "polite" behavior becomes more common, the idea of what is "impolite" becomes broader. the fact of the matter is we consider the nicer half of the population to be polite and the less considerate half impolite (yeah, i'm generalizing, but bear with me). so i'm sure our standards may have changed, but 50 years ago, we'd be complaining just as much over different actions.

if you really care about manners, instead of just holding a door open, strive to make someone smile. actually talk to someone instead of just saying thank you. take a minute to really look at who you come in contact with. you'll find that making someone else feel good actually makes you feel good, and you'll quit worrying about those who haven't figured this out yet.

Rude Is As Rude Does....LOL Oct 14th. at 10:20:08 am UTC

J (Jackson, MS) Age: 25 - Email

As far as politeness goes, things here in the South are generally laid back. People stop and take the time to make a comment when they hold the door for you, and I can't tell you how many new people I've met just chit chatting in line at the grocery store. I guess I'd have to say that I think it's the way society has become so 'me' oriented. I have 2 children, ages 2 and 7, and I try to make sure they understand that they aren't the only people in the world. That sometimes they have to share, sometimes they have to give, and sometimes, no matter what you do, people are just going to be rude, so you just have to kind of get over it and move on. I can remember when I was pregnant with my son, I didn't see this other car in time to let him into the lane of traffic I was in (otherwise, he would have been in front of me). My daughter and I were both in the car, it was perfect 'windows down' weather, so we had them down. So did the guy in the car I didn't see. He sat there and yelled, 'Thanks alot, Miss Piggy!!' to me. My daughter said,'Mama, he called you a name, that wasn't polite at all, he should remember his manners!'. I told her that she shouldn't worry about it. That some people were just rude and he was one of them, and that one day he would understand about manners. She smiled and nodded and we went on our merry way home. I agree with the person who said that things like this start at home. I think I have a responsiblity as a Pagan parent to make sure my kids can get a point across, deal with any and all situations, and still remember their manners. So from my family to yours, Bright Blessings one and all, and hey, you guys....have a nice day!!

Urban Vs Rural Areas Oct 14th. at 11:12:06 am UTC

Serenity (Erie, PA) Age: 32 - Email

To me, it depends upon from which perceptive one is looking from. I come from a relatively small town, where good "old fashioned Christian" values are instilled from a young age. Things generally run at a slow, almost lumbering, pace. To us, to wave someonein ahead of us in traffic is common. To say hello, and stop and chat with someone, even a stranger is also common. Perhaps it's because in rural and small town settings everyone knows everyone else. There is little to no anonimity. But, that is not to say small, rural settings are immune to rudeness. Gossip is rampant, IMO because there is little else to do.
However, I do believe that in metropolitan areas rudeness is far more common. I have since moved to the nearest "metropolitan" (It's a relatively small city) area, and I find rudeness far more common. No one takes the time to get to know their neighbors. Everyone is in too much of a hurry to get from one place to another. Goddess forbid one would follow the speed limit, or let someone into traffic in front of them. I have had people watch me struggle with a door ( I walk with a cane) rather than come and open it for me. Not that I expect them to, mind you, but where I grew up, that would be the exception rather than the norm. Here, just 30 miles away, having someone hold a door open for me is the exception. I shudder to think what it would be in a large metropolitan area such as New York or Boston. In my observences, people in the South and Midwest also have better manners, as a general rule, as people from the coasts.
The solution? Slow down. Take time to appreciate those around you. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Learn to think of others before yourselves.


It's Etiquette Oct 14th. at 11:38:13 am UTC

Dark Lily (Madison Area, Wi) Age: 28 - Email

I'm not so sure that it's the rude behaviour that I'm seeing more of, it's a lack of good etiquette. I can't tell you how many people I find to be lacking in the most common of proper etiquette. I'm not saying you have to be Emily Post and know every right move for every situation, but as far as I'm concerned; "thank you's" and "please's" are a thing of the past. I have seen company for dinner parties that show up late and never call....and never bring a gift for the host/ess. I see no thank you notes from wedding parties. To me, these are the rude things, the little stuff that mom and dad either never instilled or never sank in.
Rudeness seems more a problem of younger and younger people and that's why I go with the etiquette theory. It doesn't seem as important and our culture of expecting things, instead of being thankful when someone does something for you is partially to blame. We all need to slow down and remember, if someone does something nice for you, they might have gone out of their way to do it..and they deserve some recognition. In this 'go-go' society, maybe a little proper etiquette could bring some class and understanding, and just maybe more smiles to us all!

Mother Always Said... Oct 14th. at 1:13:56 pm UTC

RuneWolf (Reston, VA) Age: 44 - Email

It would be nice if common courtesy were a bit more common, but I have resigned myself to the fact that we live in a culture that creates angry, frightened, self-centered people, and it is unrealistic to expect such people to be pleasant. Even if they were motivated to be courteous, many Boomers simply don’t know how; they weren’t taught, as children, how to be polite, the way children of earlier generations were. And, too, like so many other soulful facets of life, courtesy and politeness are seen by many in our culture as signs of weakness. You can’t claw your way to the top by using too many “pleases” and “thank yous.”

My parents were far from being tyrants, but they were strict about a few things. One of them was always saying “yes sir” and “no sir,” “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” and that has stuck with me throughout my life. I use these honorifics habitually now, whether I am talking to the CEO or to the pizza delivery person. Many friends, co-workers, bosses, customers and so forth have remarked, over the years, how polite I am, and these simple pleasantries have helped me to successfully navigate situations that would otherwise have ended badly.

In reflecting on this issue, I also realized that I notice discourtesy more readily than I do courtesy. I think I simply expect the common “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me” and so forth, to then extent that I don’t even notice when people are using them. But when someone is rude, I definitely take note, and my hackles go up. In reality, I think courtesy still out-manifests rudeness by as much as 4 out of 5 times, maybe even as much as 9 out of 10. I’ll have to pay more attention for a few weeks, and see how it works out.

The “held-the-door-and-didn’t-get-a-thank-you” scenario is one of my pet peeves, but I have found that the best remedy for that is to say, loudly and cheerfully to the retreating back, “You’re welcome!” This often results in at least a twitch of the shoulders, if not “The Look.” When I encounter rudeness on the highway, I like to smile and wave as if we were old friends. If the other party even bothers to notice, this either perplexes them mightily, or really pisses them off. Either one is fine with me.

In the end, I believe the only way to combat rudeness is to be resolutely and persistently polite. Mother always told me that when other children were mean, I didn’t have to be mean back, and that I would be a better person for it. Like so many of Mom’s lessons, it took the better part of my life to come to understand it. And I believe Deity wants me to be the best person I can be, regardless of how others around me are acting. It is difficult, at times, to “rise above” the bad behavior of others: I want to get down and dirty and show them “who they are dealing with.” But in the end, when I take the “road less traveled,” I feel much better about who I am growing to be.



Common Courtesy Seems To Be Becoming Extinct! Oct 14th. at 1:55:53 pm UTC

columbine (NY) Age: 37 - Email

...Or maybe it just seems to be. I see more and more of the "me me me" attitude...and SO much more of the "let's blame someone other than myself" attitude. I taught in public school for more than 12 years..and remember one parent brining their child to kindergarten and exclaiming --- "Oh! I can't wait for my son to start school.. Now he will learn his manners!" Oy! I hold doors for others -- and rarely do I get a "thank you" --- and it is *I* who am typically struggling to open a door and push my toddler's stroller in...without so much as a finger lifted to help me.

Do you think it has something to do with the *way* children are raised? Parents (now I am going to generalize here -- and it's on purpose) who are so involved with their "own thing" that they neglect these areas or don't care?

Call me old-fashioned...but I like to think of it as demanding the respect I deserve...but I want doors held for me -- whether it be going in a building or getting in a car; I want my chair held for me in a restaurant. I like "please" and "thank you" and "oops! I'm so sorry" when someone bumps into me (I do the same!). The above reasons were ones that got me hooked on my now-husband!

*sigh* Oh for the "good old days"...


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