Where has our era of politeness and caring gone?

Where is all the rudeness and lack of caring coming from today? Have you noticed people are not as polite as 40 years ago? Nobody seems to care much the way they use to. Do you push past people without excusing yourself, not open doors for others, fail to stand up for the elderly, have a general lack of respect, neglect to thank someone, or swear at anything and everything? Have you noticed others doing these things? Is this all part of our increasingly complex world or just a new excuse for freedom and non conformance from the young? Is it actually coming from the younger generation or are some of the oldies starting to retaliate by doing the same?

We drive down the street and are greeted on the corner by two fingers from an angry driver, or we receive abuse out the window of a car from someone who did not agree with our decision. When we line up for a taxi, we find someone is rudely blowing smoke in our face, or becoming aggressive because the taxis are busy. Nobody seems to care about the old man struggling to get across the road or the one on the bus trying to get home. The new generation seems to argue and fight and misbehave so much so that we are now putting security on our transport. So where did all this rudeness and lack of caring come from?

In my day, it was considered polite to give up our seats on the bus or train for the elderly, and there were standards of behaviour expected when out in public. The drunk and disorderly were arrested, the abuse did not exist at these levels, and we were reported by neighbours to parents if we drove fast down our street, or if we were seen in a protest or demonstration in the city. We actually dressed well to go to town or church, and were encouraged to care for others who were not as fortunate.

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As I was growing up we were all taught to say “please” and “thank you”, and excuse ourselves before leaving the table. I was taught the correct way to hold a knife and fork and how to set a table and cook meals. Mother made sure we had knowledge of cooking and sewing and Dad made us work in the yard, mowing and clearing lantana. We had to make sure we showed full respect for our elders and not interrupt a person when they were speaking. We wrote thank you notes after every occasion, and covered our mouths whenever we coughed.

By the time I reached school I was expected to stand every time a teacher came in the room; I was not allowed to swear; I was expected to do what my parents said, and offer to help without grumbling. In fact I was given a list of duties to carry out at home and as time went on nobody needed to ask for help it was just “jobs done”. I would check on my parents regularly to make sure they were alright, especially after a storm. We would help neighbours if they were struggling with getting something done. When my parents became elderly, my children stepped in and mowed lawns and helped them where I could no longer manage. 

So what has happened to the people of today? Is it a failure of families to teach their younger members how to act in public, how to care, and generally how to be polite? Is it the mixing of different cultures and a failure to understand other cultures? Is it ignorance, alcohol, or drugs contributing to these problems? I spent Saturday night at work this week and a young lad who was rather drunk took great delight in calling me names in passing and generally throwing obscene language and comments at me, just because I was an older person working. I regularly see girls trying to say something disgusting to the workers, just for a follow on effect. 

Why are they all so angry and rude? It does not take much to thank, or offer help, or just generally be pleasant. Why is the world becoming so busy that nobody cares any longer? Are we not teaching our children the manners, or are they just not wanting to conform to society? Why do they think that great achievements can be made without the help of others and that they no longer need to bother to be nice. What could be done to improve the situation? If only we could all take 5 minutes out of the day to do something special for someone, it would be a start.

Do you agree with Gill? Why do you think that people are more rude nowadays? Share your thoughts with us below.