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Social Issues: In Search of Common Decency

Updated on September 9, 2013

Credit Where Credit Is Due

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
Saint Basil

I have been meaning to write this for quite some time, but as always, life tends to change my plans without even notifying me. Did you get the memo? What memo, you sent me a memo? Yes, dummy, the memo that said you have other fish to fry before you tackle this issue. Oh, that memo!

And so it goes inside my head.

The genesis for this article comes from an article a friend of mine, Paul, wrote.

She wrote an article awhile back about manners and social decency, and because I have few original ideas, I thought I would piggyback on her article and toss out my own thoughts on this subject. Having said all that, I invite you to get yourself comfortable and prepare for a rant.

My greatest teachers.
My greatest teachers. | Source

In a Place so Very Long Ago

Can it really be fifty years ago? Well, this story begins, actually, more like sixty years ago, when my training began at the hands of Dale and Evelyn Holland, my parents.

My parents were old-school, and they believed strongly in respect and common decency. I was expected to have manners. This was not a point for discussion in our household, and when I failed to live up to their expectations I heard about it. I was expected to say please and I was expected to say thank you! I was expected to hold doors open for strangers and I was expected to help others when they needed assistance.

Most of all, though, I was expected to respect other people. I was told early on that we are all human beings and by that sole common denominator we were all worthy of respect. I was told that if I expected respect from others then I needed to give respect to others.

Now, lest you think I lived in some cruel household that was an anomaly, I can tell you that all of my friends grew up that way too. We were polite kids! Yes, we could be smartasses at times, and yes, we got into our share of minor trouble, but at our core we were good kids who understood the importance of certain principles of decency.

We were that way because we were raised that way by our parents and extended families.

Fast Forward to Today

Bev and I were recently at the grocery store doing our thing. As we were leaving an aisle of the parking lot, a car turned left in front of us without yielding as they were supposed to do. The car was driven by a mother, and in the passenger seat was her teenage son. I slammed on the brakes and spread my arms in bewilderment (no, I did not make any obscene gestures) and the teenage boy leaned out his window and screamed F*%K YOU at us!

I put our car in park and started to get out to have a little chat with the young man, but Bev grabbed my arm and asked me to just let it go. The last sight I saw was the mother and son laughing as they drove off.

The mother and son were laughing as they drove off!

I’m sorry, but I can’t let it go!

If that had been an isolated incident, I could probably just pass it off as one kid having a bad day. Unfortunately, it is by no means an isolated incident. As the years have progressed I have watched a disintegration of common decency in this country that I love, and I am tired of it.

I can pick any day of any week and I can give you an example of rude behavior that I have witnessed while being out among my fellow man (and woman). Quite frankly, I need someone to give me an explanation for this, an explanation that makes sense and is not some watered-down excuse.

When did it become acceptable to be rude? When did it become acceptable to be belligerent? When did it become acceptable to be anti-social and when did it become acceptable to be inhumane?

Yes, I am tired of it!

A Short List of Polite Behaviors

I will try to make this as simple and uncomplicated as possible, in hopes that others might learn. I’m going to highlight a few basic rules of social behavior that seem to have been forgotten over the years.

· Say please and thank you when asking for something or receiving something

· Help others when they obviously need help

· Speak in a manner that is not degrading

· Hold doors open for others

· Smile and laugh often

· Do not make fun of people who are less fortunate than you are

· Shake hands when meeting someone and make pleasant conversation

· Dial down your ego and dial up your humility

· Try to act like you are a member of society and not the ruler of society

Now, if that list is too long or too complicated, I am going to take it a step further and boil it all down into one simple sentence. Are you ready?

Treat others the way you would like to be treated!

Where Does Rudeness Come From?

Well, I’m sorry if this offends someone, but common decency begins at home. It is the job of parents to make sure these simple principles are taught at home. The lady who was driving her son in the store parking lot obviously found the whole profanity-laced incident quite funny. I personally find it quite sad, because the lesson learned by that young man is that rudeness is acceptable, and the lesson was taught to him by his mother.

Is it possible that rudeness can be practiced even though a person is raised in a caring, loving home? Most definitely! These are tough times; I don’t need my degree in Economics to know that simple truth. People are scrambling just to stay afloat; there is fear in the streets, and distrust, and people are living lives of “quiet desperation.” Those factors mean there is ample opportunity and motivation to strike out at others, and to act in a way that may not have been taught during childhood.

Let me repeat: I am tired of it!

True words
True words | Source

Being Polite Is a Sign of Strength and Not Weakness

As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.
Caroline Kennedy

It is time to turn this trend around, and I may be the bearer of bad news when I tell you, my reader, that the responsibility for that turnaround is yours and yours alone.

It is ridiculous to expect others to treat you with respect if you are not willing to do the same.

It is ridiculous to expect others to be polite if you are not willing to be the same.

It is ridiculous to moan about the lack of humanness in this world if you are not willing to be a shining example of that humanness.

I will repeat something I learned long ago; it seemed like a riddle to me then, but over the years I have seen the truth in it. If you want respect then respect more. If you want love then love more.

I strongly believe that acts of kindness have a power of their own; I believe they send a signal that will never grow weak, that each act of kindness is a beacon of hope, and a lasting tribute to all that is good about mankind.

So what will it be? Will we continue this trend of rudeness, or will we be the instruments of change, one act of common decency at a time?

REFLECTIONS

Looking back, I am glad that Bev stopped me from confronting that mother and her son. It would have only escalated an already hopeless situation. Sure, it would have fed my ego and satisfied my need for retribution, but in so doing I would have diminished myself.

The only way for me to change this world is to be a living example of that which I desire to see.

Today I will be kind! Today I will show common decency towards others! Today I will be….more human!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, Deb! It seems to be an epidemic of rudeness, and to my untrained eye it is increasing. Anyway, thank you so much for your visit.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 4 years ago

      Great Hub. Touched home - my parents were old school - I learned - please, thank-you, & your welcome. The Navy taught me more courtesy. I wrote a Hub - THE BUSINESS OF BEING FANTASTIC - which relates to Customer Service where I have worked in for many years. This world has some very sick souls out there and many find their way to us. Great Article.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Sha!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I am well, Bill. Taking a day off from droll writing to catch up on my love: HP and my friends.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I agree, that I was blessed to be born when I was; I was raised properly and given principles that have served me well over the years. I have tried to give those principles to my son, and my student, and hopefully it is enough to carry on decency.

      Thank you as always! I hope you are well my friend.

      love,

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, first I must say, I am absolutely appalled by the mother and son sharing a laugh over his (and her) unscrupulous behavior! She does not deserve the honor of being a Mother, Muthu maybe, but Mother - no way!

      Secondly, in the times in which we are living today, we have all the more reason to be courteous and respectful of others. We are all suffering hard times. Kindness goes a long way. Ingracious, irrespectful treatment merely rubs salt into the already deep wounds.

      I'm so fortunate to have been born in the 50's. Manners, respect, self-respect, gratitude and kindness were taught along with learning how to hold a spoon and tie our shoes.

      God help the future if today's youth is any indication of the direction leadership will take!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crystal, you are reading my mind again! No doubt about it, the art of retail has become something I do not recognize and certainly do not agree with. There are a lot of people looking for work; if I owned a business my employees would be treating customers like they were kings and queens, and giving the respect that they deserve.

      Thank you young lady!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Couldn't agree with you more, Billy, especially when it comes to customer service these days. I've noticed a general malaise at best, downright rudeness at worst, among employees at grocery stores, restaurants and other customer-service oriented businesses. Texting, talking on the phone, dancing to music, complaining about their jobs, gossiping about co-workers - none of it is professional and all of it is annoying!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it all does add up, and I can understand that bothering you. It is so easy to be kind; it takes so little effort. I simply don't understand rudeness and never will. I'm just going to keep killing people with kindness and maybe it will rub off on them. :) Thank you for a great comment and for sharing.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Had to share this one. Awesome hub! This is one of my pet peeves. There are too many rude people in this world Bill. I'm sadly not surprised that the mother and son laughed after he said that. I remember how upset my father was once was when he held the door for a lady and she pushed him out of the way and snarled at him that she could hold the door herself. He was upset for days. I get annoyed when people don't give me a courtesy wave if I let them in front of my car in traffic. A little thing I know, but it all adds up. Thanks for writing this!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, I have found my soapbox and I have no plans on ending my rants. I'm having way too much fun and it relieves my stress. :) Thank you my friend! It does, indeed, begin at home. Maybe we can't do anything about the adults who have no desire to change, but we can make some headway with the new generation.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Bill - My brothers and sisters were raised like you were -- properly. But things seem to have been going downhill for quite some time now. I agree with you and appreciate your rant and I agree with many of the comments about fear, anger, our litigious society...but still, being courteous and treating people decently is a choice we make and we first learn to make that choice at home. Excellent Hub. Please never stop ranting. ~~Theresa

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I will always believe that we can make a difference. Frustrated? Of course! But never give up on that belief. Thank you my friend; peace and best wishes to you always.

      bill

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Your story is what is being repeated across the nation, Bill. People do not respect others as they should. Sorry, you were treated so rudely. In my college classes I have students who use filthy language, dirty jokes, make fun of other students -- without thinking about who is able to hear them, these are sometimes girls by the way. It is something I have to deal with, and like you, I am getting fed up with it. It's a tough job, but if we start where we are and do it one by one, we can make a difference.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Paula, you and I will do the guiding and we'll see how many will listen. In the meantime, I am going to continue to demand respect, as I was raised to, and to show respect, as I was raised to. I know no other way.

      Thank you Paula!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Rude drivers have been a thorn in my side for a while. I even mentioned them in particular, in my "Complaint Dept." hub....come to think of it, we're all entitled to a "rant," now and then...especially amongst friends of like-minds.

      It's good Bev stopped you. Crazy people do crazy things, bill. If he'll hang out a window and scream profanities at an adult stranger, what else is he capable of? I can't imagine a MOTHER laughing WITH her son for such disrespectful behavior......but hey, at least that EXPLAINS IT!

      The only way I can see to fix this mess we've become....is to STOP it by fighting against it with good...& kindness, tolerance and "example."

      Surely, not to the point of being beaten and steamrolled daily.....but to simply take every opportunity to pass on what was passed to us, by parents who loved us enough to raise us WELL.

      Somewhere along the way, too many veered off course.....they need to be guided back on.......UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, two visits in one day....I am honored and grateful! I'm going to keep ranting because this is a matter of mutual respect, and if we can't respect each other there is no hope. I blame parents, I blame the media, and on and on. Knowing who to blame and changing things are two different things, but I'm going to keep plugging away and see if I can do any good. :) Thank you Pearl!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      I don't know when it happened or why, but I know that it is a growing cancer in this country and I am as tired as you are of RUDENESS! Somehow it has become uncool to be polite and respectful. I sometimes wonder what that rude person will be like in 30 years. How do they expect to deal with the world? I'm sure they haven't even considered such a thing.

      I was brought up like you in the same era. We took our cue from our parents and what we saw on TV. I think the same is true today--consider what shows are popular on TV today. What about the movies?! I like your rant, I can definitely identify! Voted Up, Way Up

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Moonlake, those are great examples of what I'm writing about, so thank you! I see it every single time I'm out in public....it is uncalled for. I call it out when I see it and I demand that I be treated with respect.

      Thank you for a great comment; I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      We were in the parking lot one day driving out, two women were walking in front of our car they would not get off to the side and they walked as slow as they could. We couldn't run over them. After we finally got past them my husband looked in the mirror and said they were laughing their heads off. Grown women acting like this.

      I called Kohls couple nights ago over a problem I had and the girl on the phone was rude. Yesterday when I was in Kohls a young girl waited on me at the check out she also talked rude to me. Finally I said to her " Do phones get answered here in the evening." I pretty much thought this was the same girl the voice was the same. I was trying to get her to say she answered phones at night. She didn't tell me that but her attitude changed very fast. She must have thought I was going to turn her in.

      It's just as easy to be nice as it is to be rude. If they would only realize how much further they would get in life by being nice.

      Many of the parents of the teens now days use that F word in their home everyday. The movies have gotten so bad you can't watch them. There are no words just FFF.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I have the feeling you are right about that. I'm not what they would call "fighting shape"....come to think of it, I never have been. LOL Thank you my friend and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, you mean I could have stopped after that sentence? Damn! Wish I had known! LOL Thank you sir!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy it's a crazy old world out there, Bev did the right thing by stopping you. When we confront such people, we can never tell how they will react. It is good to get you point over, but better safe than a trip to the emergency room.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. All these words and nothing screams as loudly as,"The only way for me to change this world is to be a living example of that which I desire to see."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sue LOL I think you just stated it much more eloquently than I did....a bunch of crap! Love it!

      I will have a good evening, Sue, and you do the same.

      bill..........oh, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Natasha, good for you holding it back. LOL I'm not sure how I would have handled that Kodak moment. :)

      Thank you young lady!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I'm glad you were spared the snow.

      Oddly no, I'm not having trouble of late with emails. Weird how that goes in cycles. I never know why it starts and I never know why it ends. :)

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      "Dial down your ego and dial up your humility" Amen my friend!

      There is no excuse for treating others rudely and with disrespect. Parents should set a good example. There are many parents out there who treat their children like little gods who can do no wrong. They are never corrected because it would hurt their self esteem. Bunch of crap as far as I am concerned.

      Voted up and away!

      Have a good evening my friend :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      We did not get snow. But sadly, the areas that were hit the hardest received a large amount. NY City, Long Island, New Jersey all got dumped on.

      Hey Billy - I am, once again not receiving e-mails letting me know about hubs and comments. Are you experiencing this as well? Just curious.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Yesterday a third grader snapped her fingers at me and got sassy. I had a very difficult time not yelling at her, but I realized I needed to be better than that! You're right, though. Good, old fashioned politeness is lacking.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy my dear, I'll tell you one thing that HubPages has done for me: it has renewed my faith in the human spirit. I have met so many people, like you, who understand what is important in life, and understand that we are all in this together. I am strengthened when I read your comments, and I feel good for a few minutes about our chances as a society.

      You are greatly appreciated, Amy, and don't ever doubt it.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, I have run out of answers on the national level; I'm not sure there is a solution at the national level. That is why I begin with me....and my family....and then my community.....and hope that it keeps branching out. :)

      Thank you and I'm glad you are safe and sound.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, so do I! Thank you my Boomer Lake friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Valley, I totally agree; the issues we face are complex and diverse. Still, as we both have said, there has to be a starting point, and that has to be at home. Of course, that calls on parents today to actually parent, and now we are into a whole new bag of problems. :) Thank you sir!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      I kept Nodding in Agreement as I read your Wonderful Hub. We live today in a Very Rude Society. Why? I'm not sure. I too was brought up to say, "Please & Thank You" along with Values and Self Respect. In turn, when I married and had Sons, these rules were passed onto them. I used to say, "Think Twice before you say something that will Hurt the other person". Rudeness is a Form of Mental Violence...It can tricker so much. I too, am Glad you didn't get out of the Car...God knows what could have happened to you.

      We just had an Election and look at all the Rudeness that went on...And TV...Don't get me started. Sad to say, We need to change, but sadly I don't know how that will happen in our Life time.

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      Bill, in a world in which we can often feel we have little control, the one thing each of us can change often gets neglected. On a personal level, manners and respect for others are within everyone's grasp, if we choose to make a little effort. However, I think the issues behind the eroding of common values in society is wide and far reaching, and therefore resolving such issues is a complex matter. However, I do agree that teaching our children the importance of values and respect for others is of paramount importance, as I believe that when we are children we learn to become respectful of others.

      Great hub Bill, thanks for sharing :-))

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I love your name for me....over the rainbow friend....that is so sweet. Thank you! Yes, Bev made the right call; we have a habit of balancing each other, and I have learned to listen to her. I am also a believer in kismet, or karma, or whatever, and I believe, one way or another, we reap what we sow.

      Thank you dear lady; have a wonderful afternoon and evening....did you get snow?

      bill

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There has been a lot of problems with rudeness over the past couple of decades. Like begets like. I just hope that things will turn around soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I have no problem with a swat on the butt....I do believe my son experienced it, and I'm quite certain I did....no, it did not feel good and yes, I learned quickly. I did not grow up warped or stunted emotionally; I grew up understand acceptable vs unacceptable.

      Yes, off my soap box. :) Thank you Mary!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mpropp, I don't remember the number of times I had soap for dinner. LOL Hated it then and I'm sure I would hate it now, but thankfully I learned my lesson. Unfortunately, there seems to be a new level of crassness and rudeness that has somehow been determined as acceptable.

      Your kids may not know it but they are lucky to have you as their mother.

      Thank you!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I find arrogance to be the basis for rudeness. I believe the hostility that rudeness engenders in most people stems from the realization that rude behavior connotates a sense of superiority in the offender. I doubt the callousness of denigrating another by obscene gestures or language is part of the behavior exhibited when seeing a loved one, a beloved friend or someone a rude individual looks up to, but, rather is reserved for those they don't count as worthy of humane consideration, ie; the elderly, disadvantaged, or anyone they feel able to push around. Though the times have changed, as they always will, respect will always be part of civilized society. It is still appropriate to shake hands as a sign of formal camaraderie and expected at the end of an interview, showing appreciation for a concert, stageplay and even a grade-school production is the norm out of respect for talent, hardwork and dedication to the arts, the courts demand appropriate dress and behavior in, not only the courtroom, but federal buildings, standing when the National Anthem is played is expected as a sign of patriotic respect for America.

      As a human being, I am quick to give away a smile, a hand, a kind comment to another human being, regardless of economic status, race, age or sex. I treat others as I want my mother to be treated by everyone. As she has aged, she now has some dementia and is slower to react, easily confused and not always aware of impeding the stampedes at the grocery store. I am dismayed every trip I help her with, be it at the grocery store or doctor's offices, at the degree of impatience, intolerance and rudeness aimed at her. This demeaning fact will not change how I treat others one iota, as I always hope for better by trying to set an positive example for civility and respect. I believe in it, just like you, Bill, 100 percent.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      As I told Effer three months ago, what we need back in society is R-E-S-P-E-C-T....I spelled it for the kids who aren't familiar with the word. When did it disappear Bill? I know you are right because I go shopping and out in public and run into these rude and crass people. Fortunately, my grandchildren are not numbered among them. They have learned respect and care about other people.

      I know this is going to get some people up in arms, but I still believe a swat on the behind is one of the best ways to make 'youngins' remember their manners! Please and thank you should be a mantra and being polite is absolutely free so I don't understand why its so hard!

      Ok, off my soap box. Great hub Bill filled with truth! Guess we have to let our light shine!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      It seems that people are much more likely to be practicing "Random Acts of Rudeness", rather than Kindness. I applaud your ability (thank you Bev) to not confront the mother/son duo. I"m sure you were correct in assuming that it would have done absolutely no good. Good manners and treating people decently really does start in the home. I have a tween and teen, and if either of them said a curse word in my presence--let alone to another adult---they wouldn't have been laughing for long. Its kind of hard to laugh with a bar of soap jammed down your throat! Oops, did I just write that violent threat?! Ah well...remember, if you can't say something nice--don't say nothin at all.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Bev made the right call this time. You would have found yourself attempting to converse with the ignorance that originally caused your frustration and that, my friend is a losing battle. You already know the type of home I was raised in so I don't need to go into it. It does, however seem that rudeness and lack of common respect is a dying characteristic. Whether it is due to someones upbringing, modern technology constantly distancing us from one another or just lack of brain cells, it seems to be more consistent.

      I will say that I am a believer of getting back what you put out into the world. I already know what you receive as you have demonstrated time and again what a considerate individual you are to others. Now imagine what that mother and son are probably receiving right about now.....

      Great write. Voting up and sharing while being very proud to call you my "over the rainbow" friend.

      Big big hugs, kisses and laughter to you and Bev.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, your example just puts an exclamation point on this hub. I see that kind of thing every single day and I'm still stunned when I see it happen. I, too, saw in when I was teaching school, and I'll simply never understand that kind of behavior. There were teachers I did not like when I was a kid but they were always treated with respect.

      Sigh! Thank you Donna!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kallini, I'm afraid I have to agree with you. :) Society has reached a point where I wonder if there is any chance of reversing the latest trends in behavior. There is too much anger in the world today, too much rudeness....and I'm not sure it will change for the better. All I can do is my part and hope for the best. :) Thank you for a great comment and for sharing some of your personal experiences.

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile image

      Donna Kay Bryan 4 years ago

      Bill, AMEN and ALLELUIA! Last year I had 4 students who were making horrendous gestures toward me out in front of the school. An administrator, who was meeting with the mother of two of the boys in the courtyard at the time, yelled at the boys to stop. The mother laughed about it. It's hard to blame the kids for things when they have parenting like that.

      I am so glad that your lovely wife kept you in the car. In this day and age you never know who is going to shoot you OR run over you. Perhaps a better way to handle someone is how my sister has taught me. When someone flips you the bird and/or uses an expletive, flash them a smile, a wave, and say, "Have a good day!" You wouldn't believe how caught off guard they become, and quite often will change their demeanor (rather sheepishly).

      Voted up useful and awesome!

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Bill, I don't know for how long the process of losing good manners was under way and it it probably more complicated than it seems on the surface...

      For example, I can be rude, I can say "f-k you" occasionally, I can be less than pleasant at home. But there is certain behaviour that I tried to never allow myself in front of my son. I cannot, of course, remember how many times I have slipped, but I judged by him not repeating any of it. He only repeated certain words that grandmother threw at him in her angry outbursts, which he mirrored right back at her. To convince her that it is considered teaching by example was totally futile. Here it is - imitation.

      But nobody is immune. Once he started attending school, he brought the whole bouquet of words we don't use at home. And teenagers are probably the rudest category of people. I don't know why.

      The standards go down and down and down and we go with them. I think it is degradation of the society in general and we are the first wold country.

      I agree that everyone should start with him/herself, but it is so hard to imagine it really happening.

      The society have become more barbaric. I, for example, cannot understand how kids/teenagers/young men can sit on a bus if a woman, especially an older woman stands in front of them. When I was growing up, it was unacceptable. At 42, I still have the urge of giving up my seat to an older person.

      It would take a whole army of Mothers Theresa to change our society.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, I think I should be put in charge of proper parenting in the United States. I'll be the Parenting Police! Now wouldn't that be frightening? LOL

      Thank you Julie!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, the main problem with writing this for HubPages is that all the Hubbers are like the choir....all of you understand this and treat others with respect. I have to find a way to get this read by those who are clueless. :)

      Thank you Kelley! You are a good person!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Linda, I don't want to get started again. I'm working on a nice, mundane, vanilla hub about Olympia, Washington, something to lower my blood pressure. :)

      Of course I agree with you; why wouldn't I? You only speak the truth each and every time you open your mouth, or put pen to paper.

      I'm going to stop now; thank you as always my friend; I look forward to your ranting, and I'll pick up the sword and swoop down for social justice again in a day or two.

      thank you Linda,

      bill

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      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      At the core, people have lost respect for other human beings. Obviously, I think this begins in the home, where parents are the primary teachers of respect and manners. Great hub!

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      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Hi Bill! I agree that rudeness starts at home, along with everything else. It's a sad state of affairs in our country right now. A lot of people care more about making money or watching the latest reality show than taking time to treat others with respect. Our children pick up on this quickly and now we are seeing the results of the past generation. It's a little frightening. Thanks for writing this powerful piece! Kelley

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      I doubt that you will be surprised to hear that I have a parallel hub planned for this topic. Stay tuned in the days or week ahead.

      Now, you ask for an explanation. I will reveal more in my hub, however, can you spell "lawyers"? We live in a world where arguing legal liability is the most lucrative proffession of all. It is the stuff that our politicians are made of. Need I say more?

      The very laws that our country was founded on have been tweaked and twisted to create so many loopholes that no one is held accountable for anything anymore, if they can afford a legal defense. Parents can't even be parents anymoe for fear that their kid will rat them out at school and down comes the social service and legal eagles swooping down on their otherwise normal life. Remember my hub on Aleck Carpitcher? He will die in prison because the system protected a child who lied instead of dealing with the violence and alcohol that caused the problem.

      I'll stop before I write my hub here. What I really want to say is that you are not alone in this thought process and you have done a masterful job of showig us all how simple it is or, could be. to live in a world where people respect each other. I love it when you rant my friend because your rants really make a difference.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I can tell you for a fact that I would have let you go ahead, and Bev would have too. We were just raised differently, or we have a different outlook on society, or whatever. Maybe I was dropped on my head and rudeness is not possible for my scrambled brain. :)

      I still believe this is all tied into fear and anger; people are unsettled and frightened, and looking for someone to blame, and they walk around with a chip on their shoulder. I can tell you that I am tired of it, and I won't accept it.

      Anyway, I greatly appreciate you, as always. Thank you Liz!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Eddy, and thank you! There, see, I was polite. :) I don't know where respect has gone, but I'm going to keep looking for it and modeling it.

      Have a wonderful day my friend, and I'll visit you soon.

      billy

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, it makes perfect sense to me and I agree....teaching empathy is the key. There seems to be a disconnect between the have's and the have not's in this country. Nobody takes the time to try and understand how each side really feels, what makes them act the way they do, and on and on. There is no compromise, there is a sense of entitlement without a desire to earn....there is so much anger and so little respect. Sigh!

      Thank you for weighing in on this issue!

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      There are many reasons why we are encountering this surge of rudeness and lack of compassion for one another. We are this individualistic society: each of us puts ourselves first before anyone else, and we think that is our right. In actuality, each one of us is here because of the goodness of others, not because "we built it". Is it any wonder that everyone is depressed and anxious? You cannot be happy without compassion and contentment. You're right to call out parents on this issue. My goal every day is to be a model of compassion for my daughter. This isn't because I'm special or smarter than anyone else, I owe it all to others who have shown me that this is the way to happiness and TRUE success in life. You are one of those people who keeps me accountable.

      When I went to vote the other day, I had my squirmy two-year-old in my arms. This sounds sexist, and maybe it is, but there were two men in front of me and neither one of them let me go ahead of them in this slow-moving line. Now, I'm not saying that the world should yield to me simply because I have a toddler, but I couldn't help but think that if my dad were in this line and a woman with a baby were behind him that there is no way on earth or any parallel universe that he would have stood there and not let her go ahead of him. That is the difference between your generation and what we're dealing with now. It's scary!

      You got me started again, Bill. I'm cutting myself off here. You're awesome.

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      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes Billy where has respect and common decency gone???

      It costs nothing but this shoulkd be taught at home from a very young age. Sadly this isn't always so.

      Thank you once again my dear friend on another wonderful hub. Up up and away here !!!!

      Have a great day.

      Eddy.

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      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I sat for a while here before deciding what to write. In my opinion, rudeness is a type of violence. It is a passive objectifying of another and then a dismissal of that person's right to be respected. If this makes sense to you. If you perceive this as violence, then I posit, that we are becoming more violent as a society in some measure, because we are more accepting of violence in general. It is a type of denial really. We can do violence to another when that person doesn't have feelings, when we objectify. So I think the bigger question here is how do we teach empathy. Just my 2 cents.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, in my younger days, that parking lot incident would not have been pleasant. I'm glad I have grown up a bit over the years. As for you...I can't imagine you ever being rude.

      Thank you my smiling friend.

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      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Well I do think I am unfortunately in a minority with having good manners compared to people my age and younger. I agree that manners start in the home. Can't believe that kid swore at you in your car - just plain rude and uncalled for! Good hub so voting up and sharing too.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I only had to be shown once what the consequences were of my rude behavior. I was a fast listener when my dad was the teacher. :)

      Thank you buddy; I hope you are well and working things out.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to visit every time. Thank you! I'm going to keep ranting about what i see as unacceptable behavior, and maybe someone will hear and learn. :)

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I am with you on this 100% Bill, it is staggering how rude and obnoxious people can be.

      Like you, If I behaved that way in my youth I would have been straightened out immediately.

      Mark

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great Hub! This is good advice for all of us individually and the world at large. It deserves to be read by far more than the substantial number who will see it here. I agree with you Bill. Every day I witness rude and thoughtless behavior, and agree too that it starts at home, with parents teaching and modeling correct and courteous behavior.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, I have heard that same thing, and I just shake my head in amazement. Is there such a thing as too polite? LOL

      Thank you my friend; I always appreciate your visit.

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Excellent hub.. my parents are old school as well so I was taught manners and respect from early on as well. people often tell me that I am too polite.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randy, thank you for mentioning WalMart....I have been known to lose my cool in a store when the clerk does not thank you for my purchase....I hand them the money, they give me the change, and turn to the next customer without a word being spoken...unacceptable to me. :)

      Thank you my friend; greatly appreciated.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I am blown away by the lack of manners in society today, and it's not just from the kids. I hold doors open at stores for adults and they walk right through without saying anything or even looking at me. I simply don't understand that kind of behavior.

      Anyway, thank you my friend.....THANK YOU! :)

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      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You are a man after my own heart, Bill! I mourn the old days here in the deep south where "southern hospitality" was once well known and in fact was true for the most part. I now avoid places such as WalMart where inconsideration is the norm rather than the exception.

      It seems we are rearing our children--some of us at least-- in such a manner where the lives of others is not very important to us any more. More's the pity for all of us! Thanks for the read!!

      SSSSS

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Seriously, Bill thank you for writing this. so very true and must tell you that both my girls know how to say please and thank you even at 2 and 3 years old. Emma didn't say much until she was almost 2 years old by the way (and now at 3 I can't shut her up!), but she knew please and thank you, before you could say much else. Why you ask? Because quite simple I was taught manners growing up and won't have it any other way in our home. So I can truly relate and you couldn't have said it better or been more right in this day and age if you tried. Have of course voted up and shared all over!!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, for sure! :)

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      And me

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, I love that you have a crowbar. I have pepper spray and a baseball bat. If that doesn't inspire common decency I don't know what will. LOL

      I don't know, buddy; sometimes I think the whole world is crazy except for you and I. :)

      Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I'm pretty sure you can write that best seller; I doubt this hub will have much impact or be remembered for long. Go for it, girl!

      I know it's not my imagination; people are ruder nowadays, and young teens...OMG....are they not taught anything at home?

      Thank you my dear!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, for sure, we can all afford it. It doesn't cost a penny to be kind.

      Thank you for the visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, you always say the nicest things. Thank you! My highest compliment that I can pay you is that you are one of the Hubbers I would love to sit down with, over coffee, and get to know in person. You are simply a good person.

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      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill, Common decency? What's that, something out of the Prehistoric Era? Weren't the cavemen that last ones to use that? It's only for small town usage where people know each other, right? You know you're going to get me started on my Political Correct soapbox here, don't you? lol Okay, I quit. I give up! Laws are necessary because common decency doesn't exist in today's society. That's why I carry a crowbar between my truck seat and door. Someone flips me off and laughs and the crowbar comes up. It's amazing how fast the smiles fade and the car drives away. I think it's the "for every action there is a reaction" concept we were taught in school before they started only trying to teach the things that would get them past the government testing programs. Great job, my friend!

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I was going to write a book once The rudeness of the American Population. I am always disappointed to see how rude people are. I was in Costco one day and there was one cart left and a lovely woman got in front of me and said "let me get that for you" and she took off with it. People are rude everywhere. I have always been overly polite and helpful..I am not bragging but to me it is easier to be that way. I always apologize if I happen to get in front of someone inadvertently. It seems like a simple thing to be kind. However one thing I do believe is that the current generation feels very entitled..and that is just one part of it. I am glad you wrote about this even though you stole my idea for a Best Seller..Just kidding Bill.. Great hub.

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, Bill. Wish we could all practice graciousness, & it is a big thing with me when I experience things like what you did in the car park. We can afford to be kinder and more humble!! Thanks for sharing!

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill,

      It is never too late to spread this message. I will see about effer's hub, I may have read it but this sure sounds like her as well.

      Gosh, decency and respect and courtesy... Such basics yet so very sadly lacking in many of today's scenarios.

      One of the quotes I read often in my collected journals is:

      "You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect, you would expect it. ". ( Sarah Dessen)

      You are like a daily tune up of inspiration to me, Bill. I love every visit I have made...thank you. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria