When I was growing up, people weren't perfect, but society was certainly more civil. The lines between right and wrong were clear.The author does not purport that the past was perfect, only that an element of civility and respectfulness has been lost. I find this to be so true. Anyone can look around and see numerous examples of disrespectfulness in attitudes, speech, and dress. The author gives the example of how students who are caught cheating or who are failing have no fear, because my dad "will handle it." Another example is when we see elderly women pushing their grocery carts with no one stopping to help.
Teachers were teachers. So teachers taught.
Parents were parents. So parents trained.
Kids were kids. So kids obeyed.
Respect for authority was paramount. Service to others and respect for property were natural elements of community. Teaching manners and instilling character were the cornerstones of public education. Parents looked at the right side of the report card (conduct) before they look at the left (grades). Kids got in alot more trouble if they were disrespectful to a teacher than if they made a B minus.
How did this happen? How did our society become so disrespectful? We've substituted self-esteem for self-respect, and in the process we lost our manners.
While some might say self-esteem and self-respect are synonymous, the author defines them very differently. Self-esteem teaches children to focus on themselves and how they feel and what they want. This focus breeds greed, arrogance, insecurity, and discontentment.
Self-respect, on the other hand, focuses on others and how others feels and what others need. The author states that this perspective leads to gratitude, humility, confidence, and contentment.
I am challenged not to be conformed to this world and its focus on self and to pass this along to my children. When our children learn to respect our authority, we lay the foundation for their ability to respect the authority of God in their lives. By teaching simple manners, we model this respect and teach our children. I will write more later on the impact basic manners can have on developing self-respect, as well as displaying Christ's love to others.
What manners do you see especially lacking in society? What methods or tools do you use to teach manners to your children?