One of the top stories on my favorite morning news show this morning was this: We have become a nation of rude people. "Civility is dead," I believe the headline was. I could have told you that. I've said it for years. I've witnessed it for years, right here in the South, the "manners" capital of the world. The story was actually about bullying among young people, the direct result of our society's lack of manners, empathy and consideration. And you guessed it - everyone's looking to schools and legislators to correct the problem.
Where have we lost this art? We've lost it at home. We lose it when a child sees his parent act like a maniac at a youth sporting event. We chip away at it when a child sees her mom deliver the one-fingered salute to another rude driver on the way home from school. We allow our kids to walk around like zombies, texting into oblivion during a family meal or bump randomly into strangers in the mall; whatever you do, don't look up!
In other words, we've lost consideration for other human beings. How many times have you sat in a confined space and listened to someone shout one half of a pointless conversation, forcing everyone around them to listen to it? Ever walked through a doorway right behind someone, just to have the door slam on you? And "customer service?" Please. Companies don't even know how to define that any longer. Most can't pronounce it.
I've never considered myself a visionary, but I clearly remember watching the days of "a computer in every home" roll out back in the 80s. I vividly remember thinking and saying to others that the Internet would change the way human beings interact. Let's face it, we weren't that great at it before the 80s. Combine this human divide with the fact that our nation, as a whole, has no idea any longer how to parent, and we've created the monster. Compassion, empathy and civility are taught and modeled at home. That's where those abilities take root and grow. Conversely, if they aren't taught at home, don't look to teachers and lawmakers to do it. Too late.
Too often, people don't see how these "little" things at home impact our community, our nation and our world. Let me explain it, in a nutshell: rude, compassionless kids become rude, selfish adults…become dishonest, self-serving leaders. And parents. It's not just a cycle; it's a downward spiral.
Do society a favor today. Holster the finger, control the tongue, and interact with your kid without a phone or computer.