Opinion Piece By: Beverly Kwakye
Nov. 12, 2012
At the tender age of five, young kindergarten students are taught the basic principles of manners and respect. Children learn to share, listen to their elders, keep their hands to themselves, say please and thank you, etc. The goal is to shape young boys and girls so they’ll grow into good-natured adults in the future. Despite children learning these principles of discipline, they seem only to be carried out through grade school. As many children grow older, they trade their prior knowledge of etiquette and respect for impudence and discourtesy.
Imagine a student busily walking down a hallway. That student then accidentally bumps into another student. The first student, barely facing the second, quickly whispers “my bad” and walks away. Whatever happened to the phrase “I’m sorry” as a proper apology? Believe it or not, these students were once the respectable boys and girls from any kindergarten class.
If people learn these rules of etiquette while young, then why do they seem to forget to use them in their everyday lives as they get older? My input on this issue goes back to the concept of authority. Children are accustomed to speaking to those with a higher authority with respect. Elders often forget that regardless of whom they are speaking to, they are still obligated to show that being respect. This type of behavior does not only exist in the lives of children and teens but exists in the lives of adults.
Adults are the main focus of this topic because they too forget the etiquette they once learned. Whether it’s in the house or at the workplace, every day, adults are in need of a constant reminder of the do’s and don’ts’s of etiquette. Many adults fall victim to committing minor or unintentional acts of discourtesy like speaking out of turn or an attitude slip. More commonly, adults often forget to say a simple hello to address a bystander’s presence. Adults seldom realize how rude they as elders can be. Elders often forget that being as generous and courteous as a kindergarten student still applies to them no matter their place in life. I think we all need to go back to kindergarten to learn what we were once taught.