Manners Maketh a Man

Praveen Mull

A thirteen-year-old meets an elderly neighbour on the stairs. He pushes his way down without as much as a smile or greeting. Mala answers the phone with a curt "Mom is not at home," and bangs down the receiver. Guests are sitting in the drawing room when Amit walks in. He barges straight into his room ignoring them completely. Ambika, a six-year-old, kicks her maid in the presence of her mother, who finds the whole incident very amusing. Rahul, busy with computer games, displays his obvious displeasure in helping his invalid grandfather to the toilet.

These are some real-life instances of extreme ill manners displayed by today's youth. In sharp contrast, examples abound of well brought up children who display impeccable politeness and manners. It is a pleasure to hear a telephonic response "Good morning, Aunty. I'm sorry, but mom is not home. May I take a message?" These words sound like sweet music to the ears. Rahul keeps the lift door open, welcomes the visitor as he enters the lift with a "Good evening, uncle. Which floor, please?"

To a large extent, the blame for rude behaviour must be shared by parents, and to some extent, by teachers. Children possess impressionable minds and are quick to learn what they see, hear and are taught. Parents and elders should be living examples of good behaviour. From childhood itself, a good home and school education are imperative for children to imbibe good values.

Use of objectionable language and behaviour needs to be checked by parents. They need not scream and shout at their child, but rather speak to him in a positive and supportive manner while exercising extreme care not to chide him in the presence of outsiders. An eye to eye contact is generally sufficient for course correction.

Values in the young generation have reached rock bottom in many countries, and parents, disturbed and depressed, are now seeking highly expensive services from correctional agencies for redressing these issues. Do we want to traverse the same path, and leave behind a legacy of impertinent and arrogant children or do we want the next generation to be polite, level-headed and well mannered?

It for us to decide.



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