Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Opening Doors

Last week, while visiting the Post Office, I held the door open for a young lady. This isn't anything unusual, for me or for some others I see there. But in addition to a rather surprised, "Thank you," she said, "That's so nice. People of my generation rarely do that."

Maybe I'm hopelessly old-fashioned. Maybe it's just the mother-tapes playing in my head. But I was brought up to open doors for women, to hold their chair when we sat at the table, to stand up when a woman enters the room, and to show courtesy, not just to women but to everyone.

But after the comment by the young lady, I began to wonder. Am I out of step with the rest of the world? Moreover, if I am out of step, who's right--the people who seem to me to be too self-centered and in too much of a hurry to think of others, or those who take the time and effort to show respect and courtesy?

It saddens me that the Golden Rule seems to have gone from "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" to "Those who have the gold make the rules."

Is it just me? What do you think. I'd like to know.

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(image via freedigitalphotos.net)


Lauri Harris said...

Although we have taught our boys to be courteous and hold doors, etc. for women, our youngest doesn't show special courtesy to women. His reason is that he believes women don't want special treatment, they want to be equal. He will hold doors for anyone coming in behind him, male or female, so he will be thoughtful, but he won't single out women or treat them differently. I believe many in this younger generation must feel the same way. They are giving women the equality they believe they want. But obviously the woman in your story appreciated your thoughtfulness, so maybe this generation needs to rethink things just a bit.

Jay Lode said...

I'm with you! I try to grab doors for folks...especially if they're older. And I am always so grateful when a gentleman holds a door open for me; I truly feel honored.

I miss the departure of good manners, and the dignity it cultivates, from our culture. But I must also admit, we have not done the best job of training our teenagers. I still have to stop them regularly to open the door for mom.


Andrea Cox said...

Ah, so there are gentlemen left in the world... This is a novelty not seen much out there.

As a 26 year old, I must agree with the young lady. Guys of my generation don't generally hold doors open for ladies, although several of the guys I play volleyball with do hold doors open for the ladies in the group. So, perhaps there is some hope for this generation. I do hope that the old-fashioned courtesies aren't dying out. What would future generations be like if they did? I gasp at the thought!

Thank you, Richard, for carrying on the common courtesies that aren't so common anymore. Folks like you are greatly appreciated.


Richard Mabry said...

Lauri, Jay, and Andrea--Thanks for your comments. Glad to know that I'm not hopelessly out of touch with the times. Hopefully, others are doing the same thing.

(Sorry to be late in responding--just got back from getting our flu shots).

Vera Godley said...

Well, Richard, sadly it is a sign of the "me" generation. I was also raised that ladies are taken care of by gentlemen and gentlemen open doors, walk next to the road instead of to the inside, hold your chair, etc. I was also raised that children address adults with titles - Mr. Mrs. Miss. If you were a child or young adult, there was no calling an adult by his or her first name.

In the Christian schools I have been privileged to work, children were expected to address adults with their respective titles. There would always be a "Yes Mam" or a "Yes Sir." Students were expected to open a door or hold a door for an approaching adult - lady or gentleman. At one point, the class would rise when an adult entered the classroom. But teachers complained that it was too disruptive, so it was allowed to die the death of discourtesy.

On a brighter note, I stopped in a fast food restaurant the other day for a quick salad and tea. When I finished eating, I dutifully took my tray to deposit it and empty the trash in the bin. As I walked toward it, a piece of cello-plastic that had encased the fork flew off the tray. I proceeded to the bin to put the trash away and then turned around to retrieve the bit of rubbish. As I was turning, a young man of about 18 to 20 was getting up and he quickly retrieved it and put it in the trash for me. Not due to my slowness, but due to his thoughtfulness. So all hope is not lost. Some still care.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Vera. I don't want to be one of those who hold that the world is going to Hades in a hand basket, although maybe that's the source of all the "global warming" we hear about, but it is frustrating to see how some of the things you mention--things that I was taught at an early age--are disappearing.
Maybe there'll be a resurgence of good manners and respect. Maybe... Let's hope so.
Thanks for your comment.

Unknown said...

Just a comment on Vera's assessment that allowing the class not to rise when an adult enter the room is a discourtesy. I suspect a lot more adults enter the classrooms now. I taught under that rule for a year and it was extremely disruptive to the students' education. There are plenty of other opportunities to teach and model respect!!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol Garvin said...

I find it's a generational thing... with parents who don't make a point of teaching the importance of such things to their children so that generation doesn't know about the courtesies and thus can't teach them to their children.

One thing that surprises me is the wearing of hats in restaurants and even churches. Nobody seems to think they need to be removed. I want to go snatch them off, but of course can't. LOL!

Richard Mabry said...

Becky, thanks for your comment--the other one was a duplicate, which is why I removed it. Don't want you to think I'm censoring you. I see your point.

Carol, the hat thing drives me crazy--specifically, baseball caps. Men and women alike wear them indoors in restaurants, which is bad enough. Men wearing them turned with the bills facing backward drive me up the wall. Guess my age is showing.