There are many times I site basic bad manners as the cause of any injustice, disagreement, misunderstanding, or even simply hurt feelings. I say it so often, my students and my own personal children know it before I even finish my little soap box speech. Things like pushing in a line…bad manners, picking on a peer…bad manners, arguing….bad manners, not sharing…bad manners, not taking turns…bad manners, being selfish…bad manners…calling someone a name…bad manners, yelling at someone in anger…bad manners.
You get the idea.
Almost anything comes back to that basic rule of being a good person. Say please and thank you. Be considerate of others’ feelings. Do your best. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. Perform Random Acts of Kindness. Smile. These things all fall into the category of good manners-something I’m trying my very best to teach and to model. Does it make me a pushover? Some think so yes, and those that know me know I have difficulty articulating my beliefs or thoughts for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, or wondering if I myself have used bad manners. It’s a fine line. It’s hard to know when and how to discuss thoughts and feelings that are different from someone else’s while still maintaining an air of pleasantness. However, it can be done. Just a few weeks ago I had a fantastically long debate with a close friend on the subject of Patriotism. We disagreed on almost every point that surfaced, and yet kept our wits about us. Agreed to disagree. Acknowledged the other’s point. Debated with respect. Of course, I understand the difference in friendly debates and interactions with the everyday world, but the rules should be the same.
Recently, another friend posted this link to a Mommy Blog showcasing this very thing. In summary, the author was bullied by a flight attendant for her choices in caring for her small child during a flight. Now, this post isn’t about being for or against nursing in general or nursing in public. This post isn’t about the pros and cons of baby wraps or slings. This post isn’t even about the airline industry and its string of over-the-top regulations that make traveling with children difficult. This post is about manners. And, the flight attendant who dealt with this Mom had basic bad manners, and treated another person as though her thoughts, feelings and actions were meaningless.
And, to me, that’s not ok. It’s just not ok to treat people unkindly. It’s just not ok to bully people. And it’s just not ok to have bad manners. Period.
Perhaps my definition of bad manners is a little extreme, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Of all things to be extreme, this might be one worth being a lunatic.
But, maybe you disagree?