Let us all try to relearn good manners

Don’t you just miss civility? You don’t have to keep saying “please” and “thank you” and “sorry” to be civil. How about just sticking to being good humans? It just baffles me how adults, grown-up men and women these days, are much more ill-mannered than little kids who they are trying to mold into becoming better human beings.

One of the most recent examples of ill-mannered adults is during the debates. If anyone watched the U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, you know what I am talking about. When two supposed grown-ups, wanting to represent a large democratic country fight like little kids, talking over each other, wanting to get their last word in, it makes me wonder if they were ever taught the proper etiquette of debates, or even just the proper way of speaking to another human being.

This is not just limited to Presidential debates, but turn on a news channel and pop-in to watch a round table discussion or a debate and you will immediately witness screaming matches between supposedly educated adults. Shouting, pointing fingers, interrupting are all tactics to instill fear in the opponent and these adults, knowing fully well that these are not the proper etiquette of speaking with another human being, continue doing the same things over and over again. Indian news media, specifically the channels are becoming worse by the day. Very recently there was a video circulating of a reporter chasing after a car screaming questions into the mic, hoping to get a celebrity to accept her guilt in a crime that was not yet even being investigated by the proper authorities. Since when does the supposed fourth pillar of democracy (media) think that its job is to hold media trials and pronounce a guilty verdict no matter the truth? Of course, this is not true for the entire media fraternity but a few bad apples.

A recent All Candidates forum held by the Chamber of Commerce in Burns Lake however restored my faith in at least a few of us adults. The provincial elections in B.C. have prompted politicians in the province to gear up for a fight however during the virtual forum or debate, all four candidates from the Nechako Lakes riding, were very civil, respectful and stuck to answering questions instead of taking potshots at each other. Sure the stakes weren’t as high as running for an entire country’s leader’s position but that is no excuse. It was extremely heartwarming to see an actual, sensible debate with the candidates answering instead of dodging, candidates letting others speak and not constantly interrupting. It actually made me quite proud to be living in a place where there is an overall civil display and respect among fellow humans.

As kids we are taught to respect our elders, respect other humans and living beings, raise our hand before speaking, wash our hands, clip our nails, and so on. Kids are basically expected to learn to behave well even though adults clearly don’t always present the best example of decency.

Take for example the White House’s response to the pandemic. Not only have they been careless enough to put their and their fellow workers’ lives at risk, but they are also endangering the work put in by several scientists, doctors, social health care workers to get people to take the pandemic seriously. There is this response from adults and then there is the 17 year old Greta Thunberg, who is donating her $100,000 prize money she received from Human Act, a Danish worldwide development organization, to help fight the pandemic and protect children from its devastating consequences.

So, for all those who keep discussing, debating and pointing fingers at the next generation for their poor social media habits, their supposed lack of caring, and their overall poor manners, maybe, just maybe start by looking at yourself before pointing fingers? I am sure there are a few bad apples in the next generation too, but be better examples that the kids in the next generation will want to follow. If us, as adults don’t mind our manners, we can’t possibly expect kids to learn and be better. So why not be better, learn to listen to others and show other humans much more respect.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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