Is anyone else as shocked as I have been at the tone of disrespect and dishonor that has been present throughout this year's election campaigns? Is this to be the new norm? It seems more and more every day that common courtesy and civility are diminishing before our eyes.
In my Organizational Ethics class we were discussing whether we felt society was more rude and unpolished or less rude and unpolished than it used to be. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts about this as it's a subject near and dear to me. As parents we have such a battle in this world to instill the character qualities of consideration, respect, empathy, and love in our children. Here is some of what I wrote:
It can clearly be seen, especially by those who have lived through several decades, that society today is much more rude and unpolished than it was many years ago. This is probably related to the deterioration of caring and mutual respect that used to permeate the character of people but is not always easily found within hearts today. Manners are a reflection of respect and caring about those around us, and along with their rapid decline over the past few decades, it can be seen that love and empathy for others has lessened as well.
It is interesting to note that manners and character training used to be part of public education, as can be seen in antique textbooks, such as the McGuffey Readers that were used in public schools a little more than a century ago. A sample of such character training can be seen in McGuffey’s Fifth Reader:
I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true;
For the heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit, too;
For the cause that needs assistance,
For the wrongs that need resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.
This seems in stark contrast to the character training of children today, which is practically nonexistent in many homes and schools. This is unfortunate because it has contributed greatly to the ongoing corrosion of manners and mutual respect among common people.
As Christians we are called to be the salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). One way we can do this is to take the time to learn manners and etiquette if we have not already learned them and teach them to our children as well so that others can see that we care about them. In this way we may show Christ to the world.
The simple cure for rudeness and disrespect can be found in the Bible in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. If everyone would abide by this Golden Rule in today’s society, we would be back on the right track towards the common goals of love and mutual respect.