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Downright Rude


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Teenagers get slammed in the media for being disrespectful, impolite, and downright rude. And the media is right, to some extent. As a whole, we are indifferent when it comes to respect and common courtesy. Yet this collective “we” refers not only to teenagers, but to adults as well. We as a society seem to have forgotten what respect and good manners even mean. In a world where self-importance and self-advancement trump civility and altruism, what was once regarded as a necessary quality is now forgotten.
Last week at church, I couldn’t believe my luck. In the midst of a jam-packed parking lot, a car was backing out right as I was pulling in; there was a front row spot just for me! I flicked on my blinker and patiently waited as the departing car carefully maneuvered out of the spot. Just as I turned the wheel to park in my glorious perfect space, a big green truck came tearing out of nowhere and roared into my spot, the spot that I was so clearly waiting for, and with no more than a careless wave and grunt of the engine, the man driving that monster of a vehicle waltzed in to Mass. It took all the self-control I could muster not to call out after him, “What wonderful manners you have at church! God would approve.” Luckily, I remembered my manners and kept my mouth shut.
Stealing a parking spot, while it may seem trivial, is not just a casual decision, but an example of the general lack of respect in our society. I was always taught to say please and thank you, hold open the door for someone with their hands full, and not say “bad words.” Now, I can’t go anywhere without hearing someone drop the F-bomb as often as if they were saying hello. Though there certainly are still some good-mannered people out there who will always pleasantly offer to help, it seems that they’re more often the minority than the majority.
Part of the reason for our rapidly disintegrating respectfulness is technology. With I-phones, Blackberrys, pagers, and beepers that allow us to connect to the rest of the world 24/7, it’s easy to become a victim of rudeness. But we all know how vexing it is when a friend is texting someone else when you two are at lunch, or when the woman in front of you in the Tom Thumb line is gabbing away obnoxiously. We don’t want to hear, nor do we care, about your phone conversations, so keep the noise level down. Texting, while convenient, has become the ultimate manifestation of rudeness, especially amongst teenagers. I like to text my friends just as much as anyone else, but when I’m with other people, I remind myself that texting in the company of others is rude. Annoying, disrespectful, rude, aggravating: call it what you want, make up excuses; the fact of the matter is that, like stealing a parking spot, it’s not right.

A few weeks ago, Oprah did an entire episode about rudeness. The results were amusing: 99% of Americans say they’re not rude, but that 80% of their peers are rude. Clearly, the majority of us don’t even realize how bad-mannered our habits can be. Some general rules of thumb to think about when you’re in public? Be on time, watch your language, clean up after yourself, keep cell phone use to a minimum, and, most importantly, treat others the way you want to be treated.

I once saw a poster that said, “Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten.” And in a way, that poster sums up how to be a courteous, respectful, and aware member of society. Kindergarteners are taught to “be aware”, “play fair”, “say you’re sorry”, and more. We could all use some lessons in manners from a five year old.




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DanceAwayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 1, 2010 at 9:37 am:
love it! Really interesting.
 
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belletoile said...
Dec. 6, 2008 at 1:13 am:
I absolutely love your article...I often wonder how in the midst of all the new inventions and developments, we are still far behind on how we treat others. I enjoyed the last paragraph...You performed the play, didn't you?? I believe those are the exact lines...Keep up the good writing!
 
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