When I started on this blogging adventure I spent some time ahead of my first post thinking about how I would approach the whole thing. Researched a lot, read other blogs, took advice from current bloggers etc. This research gave lots of (sometimes good) advice such as:
- Be active on social media and maximise your coverage
- Blog everyday (or at regular time each week/month), so your audience know your routine
- Have a theme – so you can target the right audience
- Respond where possible to comments and feedback
… and so the list goes on. Well, I guess in my 14 or so posts I have managed to break each one of those rules at some point or another and interestingly, the one which bothers me the most is the last one – responding to comments! So first and foremost I will publicly apologise now if I have failed to respond to your comment, or sometime in the future I fail to respond. KC – you left the very first one and I didn’t even have the good manners to reply back 😦 So to you a HUGE SORRY xx
My lovely children (and the Hub) will vouch for the fact that for me, manners is a soap box I often jump on to. I worry that our lives have become so dominated by technology and a culture of ‘instant gratification’ that we have lost (or are certainly on the brink of losing) a basic value which once gone, we are unlikely to restore. I detest that people should refer to having manners as something which is old-fashioned. I also find it difficult to comprehend that an entire debate exists over whether holding a door open (or not) should brand someone sexist, or feminist. Get over yourselves… it’s just good manners. It’s not unusual in our house to praise the children (and younger visitors) if we see or hear good manners – normally a statement like “Thank you xxx, what lovely manners” is greeted with a beaming smile. Even now on the brink of teenage hormones, I still make sure those (rarer) occasions when the children are pleasant, helpful or kind to each other are acknowledged. Why ever not? But I fear the hard work put in by many parents in those early years may quickly unravel due to the poor manners of the other significant adults in their children’s lives. On my travels through a variety of teaching and learning environments, I have been appalled to see teachers dominate communal areas, expect doors to be opened as they walk along corridors and ignore pupil contributions in the classroom. A poor teacher is one who forgets how challenging it is for some youngsters to answer questions in front of their peers and yet still creates opportunities to highlight that agony… worst still failing to give thanks for the contributions made, irrespective of their accuracy or depth of knowledge. I once visited a college and on being shown to the meeting room waited for a small, but lively, bunch of students to walk through the door towards us. My guide, a head of department, turned and said “Oh, typical of the kids from xxx course, never wait for the staff to go first.” In that moment, that one statement, he exposed the lack of importance he placed on his students. Interestingly, as the group had passed by, as I held the door for them, the last of the group, a small lad in scruffy overall and boots looked up from under his baseball cap and muttered “Thanks, Miss…” That reaction had gone completely unnoticed by my guide – it wasn’t a surprise!
The Hub has a big issue with the influence technology has had on the demise of basic manners. It seems to be that as we increase the appliances at our finger tips, some people actually become less and less communicative. How frustrating when people don’t bother to reply to invitations to events – I mean how much choice do we have these days..? We can email, text, reply by social media, send a card or (shock horror), actually call someone or see them in person. Then there is the expectation that if an email, text or phone call can be made at any time, then it can be responded to at any time. Failure to respond immediately is seen by some as poor form, or worst still, a lack of commitment to your job. Yes, I have actually worked with and for people like this in the past….. Fast moving changes in technology have developed a whole generation of young people who find it difficult to focus on one thing for very long. A tough enough job for any hormone fueled teen, but with music, phones and tablets that have multiple functions running at once, a range of channels to hop between it’s no wonder an air of instant expectation has developed. Just ask any experienced teacher about how active learning techniques have changed over time – to satisfy the shorter and shorter attention spans of their classes.
Perhaps then, in our quest to make things faster, smaller and multifunctional we, as a society, have contributed to the loss of manners, the death of the ‘thank you’. Have we created a monster that can’t take no for answer or accept failure without attributing blame elsewhere?
So perhaps tomorrow, think about how you might acknowledge your child’s good manners, or open a door for a stranger, or let someone else have the last pint of milk in the supermarket fridge. And not just tomorrow, but each and every day after….. the survival of good manners and tolerance is in our hands.
But hey… I am far from perfect and before you all start shouting at once, I am as guilty as the rest at times, of ignoring a message, forgetting a thank you card at a birthday, or not appreciating the smaller gestures friends make. But by golly, if it happens it’s not a deliberate act and I do feel bad for it!
Have a fab weekend, you lovely lot! I will be off to watch the rugby with my sister at Twickenham – a rare day out together – for which I will now publicly thank her for organising. Because I suspect after a few wee drinkies, I might just forgotten to say it….
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot…….