I am absolutely astounded at the lack of pride and self-respect that crops up time and time again on the internet and in the street these days. I don’t mean the constant, never ending ‘pity-me’ stories that get played over and over again as an excuse for everything from crimes and bullying to plain laziness and lack of ambition. I am talking about the personal pride that comes from doing a job well, presenting yourself in the best possible light, making the best of any situation.
I recently saw a young woman walking through the shopping mall and was struck by how much care and attention she had put into the way she looked. Hair and make-up were impeccable, nails manicured and polished, clothes were on-trend and she walked with an air that said she knew people were admiring her. A little way behind her were two pre-schoolers, dirty, shoeless and hair un-brushed. The little one had a dummy and runny nose and was being pulled along by his bigger sister. For a moment, I thought they were lost and rose to go to them, but the older child called out “Mum, wait”. To my horror, the young woman I had admired for her appearance, turned around and shouted a foul-mouthed rebuke to the youngsters.
She certainly had pride in her appearance but failed to look beyond the mirror. Did she not realise that the state of her children was a reflection of herself? Did she not understand that the words she shouted, the tone she used, the action she took, said far more about her than all the pretty trimmings she hung on the outside? Everyone in the mall was looking at her, but the looks of admiration had changed to looks of disgust and anger.
A self-respecting mother would have ensured her children were presentable too. She would have made sure their feet were protected and warm, that they were safe by her side and could keep up with her. She would have put their needs first. A self-respecting person would not shout foul-mouthed obscenities in a public place, especially not to a child.
Then we come to the internet. A public venue designed to highlight the best and worst of humanity.
Do people think it is clever or funny to show the world how rude, how nasty, how crass they can be? My opinion of so many people I know has been irreparably damaged by the comments or photos they post. How can they have any pride or self-respect when they advertise how little feeling they have for other members of society?
Finally, I come to what started this train of thought recently, the photo of a single bed on my local Buy, Swap and Sell site. It had a slat base, no mattress and was photographed complete with the jumble of books, shoes, socks and rubbish that accumulates under any given bed.
I would never, ever, have posted a photo like that. My pride would have insisted on raking out the clutter first. Everyone our age says “Take me as you find me”, but they still tidy before you get there, it is part of our inbuilt self-respect and pride in being the best you can be. Sadly it seems to be missing in the younger generations.