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Is Common Courtesy a Dying Dinosaur?

Updated on April 9, 2014

Other examples of no manners

One self-serving teen causing those around her to have a rotten time at the movies
One self-serving teen causing those around her to have a rotten time at the movies | Source
Sure the guy laying down is tired, but he should have went home or to a motel to sleep. Not in the chairs that are for family and friends of patients.
Sure the guy laying down is tired, but he should have went home or to a motel to sleep. Not in the chairs that are for family and friends of patients. | Source
A disrespectful student
A disrespectful student | Source
Selfish sibling hogging the remote
Selfish sibling hogging the remote | Source
Talking with girlfriends, or another guy, while having dinner with her date
Talking with girlfriends, or another guy, while having dinner with her date | Source


happen to you? You are in a store, the home of a friend, or even in church and a child with little or no parenting suddenly spies you and sticks their tongue out at you for no reason. How does this make you feel? Good? If you answered good, you have problems.

This action by the ill-mannered child is not her fault. It is the fault of her parents. It falls in one of two categories.

  1. Her parents either didn't care if she was trained to exercise common courtesy or
  2. Her parents were so caught-up in their own interests, they left her to her own devices.

In the Victorian Era, it was all about social awareness, public behavior, etiquette exercised by both young men and women and that was the way it was. No one was immune. You either learned how to act around others, or you were punished by your parents.

But, as in all things, time, social opinion, and people's wills do take their toll on the training of young people to use manners, as we called it, and a lax attitude slowly began to seep in (like a King Cobra) and slowly and surely after all of the world wars were fought, manners still had a fighting chance and were recognized as gestures of respect, but during and after Vietnam, "who gives a crap about manners and how 'we' act?" Shouted one horde of hippies after the other.

And that was pretty much it for manners and social etiquette.

in stores or in public in my hometown.

  1. Children, ages six to eight, cursing their parents and slapping at them while their parents only acted like a submissive pet and took it
  2. Teenagers who are a part of a local non-denominational church group come into our local Walmart Supercenter and tear-down items from the shelves and stand back and laugh. And this is a young Christian? Someone is "dropping the ball," when it comes to teaching
  3. People throwing empty beer cans out in parking lots in the daytime while our local police just look on and never attempt to arrest them because of local sanctions handed-down by local courts as to what a police officer can and cannot do
  4. Grown men use curse words like sailors on leave in front of women on sidewalks and in stores--even telling off-color jokes in hopes that women shopping would hear the jokes
  5. Adults snarling at each other, including senior citizens, while stuck in-line at a local grocery store
  6. At a high school football game, I heard people using profanities toward coaches, players, and even each other
  7. Traffic lights and turn signals are of no use where I live. People seldom respect the other driver. It is a matter of survival.

This practice of kissing or more commonly-known as "making out," was never seen in public as far as 1950 in fear that someone might form an ill opinion of them.
This practice of kissing or more commonly-known as "making out," was never seen in public as far as 1950 in fear that someone might form an ill opinion of them. | Source


and my blessed mother, both, tried hard to teach me what manners were and how to use them from an early age. But I admit it, with a lot of guilt, I never used manners that much when I was growing up and today upon surveying my life I feel that I let my parents down because I didn't put their manners lectures into action.

My dad was an Army veteran and many times he would tell me when, as a rebellious pre-teen, "son, if you had been where I have been, you would not be so hateful. Our superiors not only expected, but demanded that we used manners and respect not just with them, but each other."

I never argued with his scolding because I knew that he was right.

So it came a time in my newly-found teenage life that when mother or dad would tell me something to do, it was, "yes, sir," or "yes, ma'am," and what looks came upon their faces. They thought someone (with manners) had kidnapped me and took my place.

An adult making childish-gestures at another adult. What a mockery of civilized people.
An adult making childish-gestures at another adult. What a mockery of civilized people. | Source


  • Allowing a senior citizen go ahead of you in-line at the grocery store
  • Speaking softly and with respect to someone older than you
  • Downplaying a tot who tries to throw his baby food on you
  • Being patient as you can while stuck in ta long line
  • Allowing a woman to go ahead of you in line or at an entrance


  • Talking extra-loud in church, in public, or at the movies
  • Never letting people ahead of you in traffic or in the grocery store
  • Giving slow-moving elderly people nasty looks when they hold you up in line
  • Barging out of church, stores, or anywhere ahead of anyone
  • Eating food in public and throwing wrappers on the ground


I may have offended some of you who think me to be an old foggie or behind the times in my stance on manners.

If that be the case, I am sorry, but no apology. I, like most of you, were raised to respect older people, property, animals, our water and air, and ourselves, so why am I perching upon my soapbox?

I firmly believe that although "some" segments of manners may be outdated, but if the ones that work were exercised, maybe our communities and towns might have al lower crime rate as well as a low rate of arrests for using illegal drugs.

Then this use of manners would spread within our states, then into our nation and hey, they might infect the entire world.

And what would be wrong with that?

I just want to say "THANK YOU," for taking time out of your busy world to read this, and the hubs that I am able to publish.

And a Special "THANK YOU," to All of My Cherished-Followers. You all make my efforts on HubPages feel worthwhile and I shall never forget any of you.

I urge you, as I urge myself, to be more aware of our duty as a citizen of our fine country to show those who pass our way, our respect and common courtesy and I include ALL of our VETERANS who have "went the extra mile," to make sure that my family and I can go to bed tonight and know that we are still in a free country.

Thank you, KENNETH

Do you feel that using manners are . . .

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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Arachnea,

      I couldn't agree with you more on your comments. And thank you for sharing your thoughts on manners and common courtesy.

      If courtesy were a hard task, then why is it called "common" courtesy?

      I love to be around people (such as you) who are not extreme about manners and courtesy, but know just how to show respect and accept it.

      Both manners and courtesy are so rare this day and time that when I see it in action, I have to stop and enjoy the moment.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      My folks were big on polite behaviour and such as well. Seen and not heard was a part of their approach to parenting. One of my pet peeves these days when it comes to courtesy is the forgotten courtesy regarding conveyances. When the bus or elevator or other conveyance comes to a stop and the doors open, people will knock you over trying to get in rather than let you exit before they enter. Even when entering a room, if the doorway is narrow, they'll push you over trying to get in rather than let a person exit first. I'm not perfect in the courtesy department but recognize the ultimate purpose. Manners, politesse and courtesies are there to provide a guideline for people to interact and share space without causing tension between themselves, simply put. Great hub. I love your image of the short guy thumbing his nose at the taller guy.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Sue, my friend,

      You nailed-it, for lack of a more-aptly fitting phrase. And I agree with your views. The parents of these malcontents are to blame for I suppose they are "too important" to teach them the fundamentals of simple manners and etiquette.

      I dare say that a huge ratio of American adults and teens would fail miserably if they were forced to take courses in social behavior, manners and respect.

      Have a great weekend and I am looking forward to you following me.

      I am serious.


    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Social niceties, good manners - whatever you want to call them are certainly in very short supply in the UK. It isn't just the young either, people are rude and ill mannered at all ages. Personally I believe it all stems from lack of respect for others, for authority, for anything. Yesterday I heard of a person who was attending a court case in which her boyfriend was appearing, yelling across the courtroom at the end of the hearing, arrangements for when she should call the defendant. The judge very nearly held her in contempt of court. Which of course she was. Some people simply do not know how to behave. Social etiquette lessons in school? Maybe not such a bad idea!

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for the many sensible points you brought out.

      One, the disappearance of common sense and manners. Amen.

      Two, drive at your own risk sums it up pretty good at teaching people such as myself on how to navigate society that is evolving into a heartless, mindless machine that is after its own lusts and runs amuk over common people like me.

      Thanks for being such an astute student of life.

      Come by anytime.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Perspycacious ,

      Thanks for your discussion points on lack of manners. There are more than one cause. I think that maybe if parents cared to begin with, that might be a great starting point.

      But that was then. This is now. Parents are both involved in power jobs that teaching kids the basic rules on how to act and react in public have gotten lost in the dust of the parents' success, so the nanny is saddled to do the work of the parents.

      I do not mean to offend, but I have witnessed harsh things both by kids and parents, and at the time I struggled to know the difference.

      Thanks again.


    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      4 years ago

      Common manners as well as common sense have both disappeared. Drive at your own risk is the common ritual in these parts of the country these days and I'm up north.

      I think one thing that has occurred in the last 50 years or so is that there was a problem with child abuse. So the government created a child and family service to assist or investigate those that had problems. But just like anything else, when big brother takes over, forget it. Then it just becomes like a dictatorship. While it's true, people may not be parenting their children like they used to, but the opposite is also true which is our rights have been taken away as parents because big brother has taken over.

      We visited another state one time and a child was screaming and throwing a fit. A woman told the parents that it was against the law in that state to discipline the child in public. So she stood by to watch to make sure they didn't spank or correct the child publicly or she was going to report them. This is what society has become and then sits back and wonders why children are unruly. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

    • catgypsy profile image


      4 years ago from the South

      You touched on a subject I have been griping about for years. Most children these days have been taught nothing about manners. I see parents bragging about how smart their kid is and I want to say...ok, but is your child kind, polite, caring? They don't seem to care about that. I guess it's not surprising because the parents have no manners either. Also, it's just easier to let your kid run wild than to try to train them.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      You have identified the problem: common manners are not as "common" as they once were. Surely the absence of the two working parents in so many homes is a contributor to a less civil society, not to mention homes in which one parent has simply shrugged their shoulders and "moved on." The number of children being raised by a grandparent can somewhat offset such situations, but only if they have the authority to discipline and establish or sustain good standards. Then there are the children who grow up watching what our modern media depicts as the new normal!


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