LIFESTYLES TIP FOR FALL 2014: Courtesy: Still Important After All These Years

by Joe Robinson

Remember when people would give up their seat on a bus/train/streetcar for an elderly person or a pregnant woman? Do you recall a time when someone would hold a door open for you, or let you go ahead of them into a room or building? Weren’t there times when a car driver would let another car into their lane if there were an obstruction or their lane ended? Remember when we started a letter or note with “Dear Peter” or “Hi Gwen”? And do you recall that if something nice were done like this for us, we would respond with a “thank you”?

Those days (should) still exist. My wife Wendy can tell you when I hold a door open for a younger (or even older) person and they say nothing, I angrily respond with “You’re welcome!!”. Maybe that not-so-subtle reminder will bring about a change in attitude in the future. A number of my friends still begin their e-mails with, “Hi Joe”, or “Dear Wendy”, as it is a form of greeting that has been forgotten or ignored by many in this day and age. I also believe much of today’s road rage and frustrated driving could be eliminated by some old-fashioned courtesy, as well as by following the rules of the road, instead of the prevalent “after me, you’re first” attitude.

How do we change this shift in our modern day world? I think that courtesy should begin with us — we should not feel guilty, out-of-date or out-of-touch by acting in a genteel manner. Sometimes as “older” members of the human race, we look toward younger generations for help with technology, heavy lifting of furniture, and other types of assistance. Maybe we can return the favour through good example and quiet reminders of one of the hallmarks of being a good person: courtesy. Let’s continue opening doors for others; showing kindness in the home, at work, in stores, on the road; smiling and greeting one another while walking down the street; beginning a message with a salutation; and lest we forget, saying those two very important words — thank you!