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By The Quiet Voice

Has common courtesy become a luxury instead of a necessity?

If you were born before the year 2000, it is likely that you recall what it meant to be raised with manners, more so if you were born in the years preceding the 1990s. Parents did not often allow their children to throw tantrums in stores, restaurants or any other public area without applying the flat side of their hand to their butts later on or right then. If you can recall when this was still allowable then yes, you are getting old.

While it might be a pipe dream that faded out long ago, courtesy seemed to mean something back then. It was possible to go for an outing and receive tidings such as "good morning" or "good day." Men held doors open for women as a kindness and were thanked for such. Drivers made way for one another on the highway, and cell phones were not yet attached to our bodies in some way to make them quickly accessible to shout into when in a crowded space. Back then, life seemed to make sense on a scale that has been all but obliterated in this day and age.

What life is like now

Entitlement is the currency of the present age. The days of working hard to earn your paycheck as a young man or woman are almost gone. If an adolescent or child wants something, many are being taught to whine, cry and throw fits to obtain their desires rather than sweat and bleed for it. Spanking your child is considered abusive and eventually gives way to undisciplined children that scream and throw fits within public spaces without consequence, and Child Services seems to get called when a parent raises their voice to their child. Is this an exaggeration? It would be nice if it were so.

Also, the acts of courtesy that still take place from time to time are largely ignored or so horribly misinterpreted that you have to wonder if being nice to another individual is a wise move. Telling someone to have a good day might be tantamount to manipulation, and opening doors for women might be construed as a form of subjugation. A driver who shows kindness on the highway is likely to be buried behind a line of drivers that simply do not care and will not bother to reciprocate a one-finger salute, much less a friendly wave of thanks. And of course, cell phones have come to dominate the landscape, allowing individuals to talk at ever-increasing volumes as they seem determined to be the subject of attention within any venue.

Is courtesy dead?

It would certainly seem so at the outset, but it is a long, lingering decline that has yet to fully stamp out the decency that many individuals still possess. Those who were born decades earlier have the advantage of being born in an era where courtesy was still of great value. Whether it is possible to pass those social skills onto the next generations remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain. Being nice to others no longer guarantees that they will be nice to you.

Article sources

Burler, Chelsea. "What's Happened to Common Courtesy?" The Huffington Post. 12 June 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2016.

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