In the early days of commercial flying, decorum dictated that passengers dress up. Now that air travel is common, people dress for comfort. Manners change with society; some, however, are timeless. Below are three courtesies that are fading and warrant a rescue:
1 Training children to be comfortable calling adults by a title: (Mr. Ms. Mrs. etc.) Calling adults by a title helps instill a fundamental respect for adults and authority. It also develops an important instinct: children learn to recognize situations in which it is important to sit straighter and choose words more carefully;these include a summer-job interview or introduction to a parent’s boss.
There is also a safety factor: calling someone by his/her first name sets a tone of familiarity. Do we want our children to perceive an adult they do not know as a friend?
Of course, there are adults, such as close family friends, in which the first-name-basis is appropriate. Parents decide this.
2 Standing to greet someone: At a recent event, I walked up to three high-school girls and introduced myself. They jumped to their feet. I was surprised and impressed. This brought to mind the fact that standing to greet someone is no longer common behavior. Doing so, when it is not disruptive, is a simple way to show respect and acknowledgment.
3 Offering Your Seat I’ll never forget the elderly man I saw enter a packed train; hunched over his quivering cane, he disappeared into the crowd. When we later disembarked, I saw that nobody had offered him a seat! Why? Have we become so absorbed in our smartphones and to-dos that we have lost consciousness of those around us? Four words that go a long way to showing consideration: “Please have a seat.”
When we see a time –honored tradition disappearing, we would be wise to ask ourselves if it served an important purpose; if so, what's the replacement?.