The truth is I usually have no idea what I intend to blog about until I sit down at my computer and start to compose. Today’s topic, though, has been on my mind for quite some time: Manners. In particular, the manners of young men.
I do not profess to be the doyen on all things proper, even though I still send thank you notes, chew gum in private, and curse only before my nearest and dearest friends. But one rudeness that ticks me is when a person fails to hold open a door for someone else.
I may be going out on a limb here but I think many of us who began life reading books made of paper (even as we refuse to imagine life without our smartphones) like to lament that kids today are so wrapped up in technology that they have forgotten how to intuit a smile, engage in eye contact, or communicate using full sentences – hell, forget the full sentences, we’d settle for full words.
But I am here to tell you that no amount of preoccupation with digital advancements has made them ignorant of something I assume you will agree is important. And that’s the exhibition of good manners.
I teach freshman English at a local college. My office and my classrooms are situated in two separate buildings connected by a concrete walkway. I am always shuttling between the two, carrying my briefcase, purse, water, coffee, and a pile of bluebooks (Yes, stop gasping. Most colleges still use blue books). And with little, if any exception, the male students always hold the door for me. That includes the kid who is proudly displaying Old Navy boxers, or is inked and pierced in spades, or exhibits some other cool factor. If he gets a glimpse of me he will hold the door open; an effort that appears to be second nature to him.
This act of politeness goes a long way in my book.
So much so that when I grade his next in-class essay, I just might overlook his use of an ampersand rather than the word “and.”