• Times; they are a-changin’.

    In some ways it’s exciting. As a technogeek, I love all of the new technology being developed, even as we become slaves to them. I’m mostly ok with that, although I could certainly use more time away from it, as my carpal tunnel and tendonitis will attest to!

    In today’s hustle and bustle, always-connected/never-truly-alone-with-your-own-thoughts society, things, especially common courtesies, are waning. Falling by the way-side. In general, we’re spending less time with our families and friends, and more time glued to a screen of some sort. We’re becoming anti-social because it’s so much quicker and easier to send a text than pick up the phone or meet face to face. I’m personally bad for that; I loathe speaking on the phone, and a quick text or text chat suits me just fine. It bothers me on a deep, buried level that I have become this way, but more than that I fear for the generations to come. Not so much my oldest daughter (the Teen), since she has a very active and varied social life, filled with some great characters (and probably some unsavory ones too), but my little one, who is 10 years her junior. If things are this bad at the beginning of the “iAge”, how will they be 10 years from now? Brrrr.

    I digress. The question is; what have we lost?

    For the most part, I see us losing the easy-going nature that we as Canadians have enjoyed, and presented to the world. I see us withdrawing into a simmering, surly mass of people who ignore the niceties of personal interactions. People who don’t hold the door open for you as you come in behind them. People who edge up so close to the car in front of them that you can’t merge into their lane. People who grunt, or mutter “yep”, or “uh huh” instead of saying “You’re welcome!” when we thank them.

    I say “in general”, but of course I realize it’s not all of us who have regressed so badly. You are here because you’re as concerned about retaining and regaining this as we are, after all, and that means you probably are one of the few people out there who still observe the manners and courtesies we’re touting here. You’re probably the kind of person who will pass this website along to friends, family, and teachers that you know (hint, hint… yes, I’m that subtle).

    The whole point of the Polite Canada Project (and no, we’re not going to call it “PCP”!) is to spread manners, kindness, Canadian-ness to our fellow Canucks coast-to-coast, and try to bring back the pride we should all be feeling as we each say (and I shamelessly steal this phrase):

    I. AM. CANADIAN!

     

  • Manners 03.11.2011 2 Comments

    I’m always happy to ponder the subject of politeness. Is it something we learn, something we do to fit into society? As Canadians, it seems to be something we are often accused of doing. As in, “Oh those Canadians, they’re so darned polite all of the time!” Often this is accompanied by a disapproving frown. Myself, I sometimes worried about being too polite. Did it make me appear weak? Maybe, but I believe that it is who we are at the core. That teaching politeness to our youngsters merely brings out their own innate desire to be kind to others.

    There was a time when I tried to force myself to quit saying “Pardon me” every time I brushed up against someone, or “Bless you” under my breath each time someone sneezed. But in the end, it just wasn’t me. It didn’t feel natural. So I decided to embrace my inner Miss Manners. I promise not to judge you when you forget to thank me for holding the door open for you (I’m far too polite for that) if you promise not to judge me when I say “Excuse me” as I pass by the cat in the kitchen.

    I no longer worry about appearing sappy, sentimental, weak, or soft by being respectful of others. And that to me is really what it all boils down to. Do we feel, really feel that the other lives out there matter as much as our own? If we do, we cannot help but be kind to them, and that all begins with a simple “Please” and “Thank you.”

     

  • Did you ever have a day where everything went right?

    Not a lottery-winning day by any stretch, but today was definitely a good one. It was made even better because my daughters both noticed how polite people were being, and that is largely due to the discussions we’ve been having about our project here.

    Why so good? Just simple things, really; We were allowed to merge into traffic by smiling, finger waggling drivers, (whom we of course thanked with a jaunty wave), we had the door held open for us as we entered stores behind others, and in turn were thanked as we did the same for others on our way out. The Teen had the biggest smile on her face when a rather scruffy looking man looked up at her (the Teen is a lovely, tall drink of water) and said, “Why, thank you very much!” as she held the door open for him. Wee One, who notices everything, took it all in and a few seconds later said “That was a nice thing to do, right Mommy?”

    See?? It takes so little, and pleases everyone. Why don’t more people do this?

    The Teen is formulating a post, and I’m willing to bet it will have a lot to do with the “door holding” thing. Like Mother like daughter, yes?

     

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