I’m beginning to believe that common courtesy is an oxymoron. Courtesy is not so common anymore.
You do not hear the little courtesies (please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me) as frequently as in the past. You also hear more obviously discourteous behaviors (yelling, screaming, interrupting).
I think part of this is related to television. Think about the lack of common courtesy in many of the TV shows; think about how people are treating each other. Even in many of the news programs, it’s not about a civilized discussion, it’s about who can outshout the others. When people watch this enough, they begin to think that this is appropriate behavior.
I think part of the lack of courtesy is related to social media. It’s easy to slam people and their views when you don’t have to do it to their face.
I think another part is related to parents who don’t teach their children manners. Too many parents let their children do whatever they want. Children need to be taught what is acceptable behavior, and this means teaching boundaries. It also means that when children display negative behavior, there is a negative consequence to their negative behavior. If the child is allowed to continue with the negative behavior, it reinforces that the negative behavior is acceptable.
I think the root of lack of courtesy is lack of respect. Too many people do not respect other people. They do not respect that other people have the same rights they do. They do not respect that other people have the same right to their views and beliefs. They do not respect that other people deserve to be treated the same way they want to be treated. And too often children are not taught to treat others with respect, both directly and by example.
I know this is not an easy issue to solve. But if each of us try to treat the people around us with courtesy and respect, it will at least make our little piece of the world a little better. And who knows? Maybe it will spread!