By: Brendan Chan, Grade 11
Over many generations, people have changed in the same way as animals. We adapt to our new surroundings and learn our manners/behaviours from our parents. Today, a major problem exists. To put it simply, our manners have disappeared. As a result, people have become selfish and in a world that needs more help than ever, selfishness is not the solution.
To begin, as teenagers, we feel we need certain things such as computers, cell phones, and video games. Living in this increasingly changing world means that we the people have to change our behaviours as well. Is change always a good thing? The answer is no; not always. Has society noticed that everyone talks on cell phones instead of meeting with others in person? Where’s the interaction? Why don’t people want to see each other? Or how about the fact that more and more people are either playing video games or working? Why do we interrupt someone when they’re talking? Where are our manners? Communities are no longer close to each other. Parents are constantly busy at work, kids are always at school; there’s just no time for anyone except for ‘Me, Myself and I’. People are simply immersed in a world where work and money overrules all. Our society has definitely changed, a point summarized precisely by Valerie Pringle, a CBC journalist, “I’m always being shocked. No one signals, people don’t say hello back when you pass them in the park, people walk three abreast on the sidewalk and don’t move for anyone. Who says excuse me or sorry or thank you anymore?”
To the reader, you may be wondering why having no manners is so bad. Well, manners not only affect how others see you, but also how happy you are as a person. In fact, a study done by Jean M. Twenge PhD, shows that today’s generation is “more confident, assertive, entitled, and more miserable than ever before.” In other words, people today are working so hard to reach their goal that as a consequence, they become mentally detached from everyone else. Everything today is about reaching that “goal”; parents are always asking, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” or “Why don’t you become an accountant, pharmacist, or lawyer, etc? It makes good money you know.” In reaching that goal, some may forget their friends and their morals to find any possible way to get to the top. For example, kids (and adults) are constantly trying to update their technological love affair with the latest iPod, or DS, or PSP. Everywhere you go someone is swearing; the f-bomb has even become a standard greeting. When something goes wrong, people are blaming others, and everyone is mad at each other. The underlying problem is that society sugar coats everything to hide the truth, that’s why most don’t even realize what our generation today has become. Instead of being selfish, we are taught to “BE YOURSELF,” “Believe in YOURSELF,” and “You must love YOURSELF before you can love someone else.” These are just some examples of our culture’s most deeply entrenched beliefs, which people take to be the norm.
So who’s supposed to teach us manners? Our parents, of course! The only problem is that they’re so busy. Let’s go back to the beginning, following the great rule of inheritance: our parents get their manners from their parents, so it makes sense that the manners they were taught would be passed down to us. Though if our parents are always so busy, we don’t learn the manners that we should – thus, losing sets of hereditary knowledge. If we follow this dismal cycle of habitual loss, manners will slowly disappear over generations, and eventually all manners will be gone; giving way to a new generation, Me.