Vicki is consistently upbeat, possesses a welcoming disposition and a ready smile. In short she has impeccable social skills and is always friendly. She also makes a great coffee. She readily connects with peopIe, so I can readily understand her frustration when on a daily basis she encounters people who place a low value on civility in public situations. ‘What have we as a society done to create this?’ Vicki then asked. Her genuine concern touched me. ‘It’s not young people. Often it’s older people who you would think would know better- but they don’t!’ she continued.
We talked about a range of possible reasons for this apparent breakdown in standards of social intercourse without finding one root cause.
I assured her that in schools we work hard to create a sense of awareness of the importance of using good manners, but you only have to watch television or observe the way people behave with their phones to see that sections of our communities now operate in a different way. The models provided by many adults are less than edifying. The rights of the individual prevail above all else it seems. Rude, overbearing, impatient people seem to have a disproportionate effect on the lives of the socially able. Being polite and pleasant has evaded many, unfortunately.
Vicki’s discomfort stayed with me throughout the day. I recalled an experience I had in a shop in Brooklyn when I first moved to
… New York