I have noticed a disturbing trend. Basic manners seem to be declining in our society. The demise of courtesies was highlighted during a recent visit to a local restaurant.
Our little family rarely eats out anymore. In addition to being expensive, it is also quite an undertaking with a toddler. When we do eat out, leisurely meals with relaxing conversation have been replaced by the "eat quick and try to keep him quiet" approach. When I don't cook, we usually opt for take-out.
The other day it was really hot. I didn't want to heat up my kitchen, and we were out of gas for our grill. Robby was behaving well, so we thought it would be a good time to eat out. Unfortunately, we were not alone with this thought. The restaurant was packed when we arrived.
We gave our name to the hostess, and began the "wait and hope our name is called" game. Scanning the lobby revealed that no seats were available. The seats were filled with children and their parents. I am not referring to infants and toddlers, but to elementary through middle school aged kids--kids who were old enough to be standing.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, that none of the kids stood up to offer me his seat. This courtesy seems to be lost in today's world. I was more surprised that none of the parents who were accompanying the children stood up, or instructed their kids to stand. I was wearing shorts. My prosthetic was obvious.
It is not that I am unable to stand. However, these people didn't know that I was not uncomfortable. All they knew was that I was a woman with an amputation and a small child. There was a time when common courtesy would have prevailed.
I would like to think that I would have given up my seat when I was a child. More likely, I wouldn't have been allowed to take the seat in the first place. If, for some reason, I was aloof and didn't stand in a timely fashion, my parents definitely would have not so subtly instructed me. I would have then received a lengthy and pointed lecture on manners and respect. I would have only made that mistake once.
Perhaps children today are not displaying basic signs of respect and courtesy because these attributes are not being modeled by their parents. During a wagon ride at a recent visit to the animal park, an elderly man was looking for a seat. Again, nobody offered to slide closer to another rider in order to make room for this man.
I was astonished that nobody modeled the appropriate social behavior for their children. Instead, all of the passengers stayed seated. Many parents began to fidget and act busy. Others simply ignored the man. I was saddened.
I immediately slid over, put Robby closer to me, and invited him to sit. The grateful man took the seat. He was very nice, and chatted with Robby during the ride. I am glad that he sat next to us. Why was I the only person to make this accommodation?
Scott and I were finally able to enjoy a meal out. Although not as leisurely as pre-Robby, it was enjoyable and relaxing. Our conversation consisted of the lack of manners in people today and how we plan on instilling those values in our son.