Saturday, June 12, 2010


I shouldn't have been taken by surprise, but I was.  The little toddler, aged two,  (coming up three, mum said) wanted to have a look at the box she had in the little plastic carrier bag.  Her little hands couldn't juggle between holding onto the handle of the bag and getting into it.  "Can I help you?" I asked.  When she had examined the pretty box, the little girl replaced it in the bag, which I held open for her.  Then she took one handle at a time.  When assured the bag was secure in her hand, the toddler looked up at me and said, "Thank you very much"; when I recovered from my momentary surprise, I told her that she was very welcome.  Then she happily trotted off.

It was a delightful interaction however, it has left me thinking about my reaction.  I have got used to the  change in present day manners.  It does not mean I am tolerant of it.  It does mean though, that the expression of manners is more of a rarity than I had been aware of.  Later in the day, I watched an older child accepting a purchase and thank the saleswoman; she spoilt the effect though, by turning to mum, (who had paid for the item) and giving her a hard time.....a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

Where do manners go from this point?


Anonymous said...

it can take you by surprise these days when someone is actually polite, which is a sad thing to admit.

we are fast becoming a nation of ignorant people.

ZACL said...

A sad summary Ax, but likely to be correct.

zewt said...

there is a saying here.... meluntur buluh, biarly dari rebungnya... which translate to... if you want to bend a bamboo, bend it while it at its shoots.... which effectively means, start them young...

that little todler sure is on the right path.

ZACL said...

Hi Zewt,

Nice saying and you are so very correct. Manners were important in the context of my child's development.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad reflection on the world today when we're surprised by good manners!
I was bought up to say please and thank you, and mum always said that courtesy and kindness cost nothing but can mean so much to the recipient. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

Your mum's guidance is absolutely right; I do wish it was still a general theme in child rearing and in family and people norms.

Even with cultural diversity, there are ways of showing appreciation, or general politeness. I was once given an orange by someone who was a refugee from one of the E European Russian suppressions in E Europe,(before Perestroika). He'd got onto the wrong overground train to SW of London, was pretty confused and frightened. I managed to get something sorted out, with only two words of understanding between us. The orange was his thanks, and no way could I decline to take it.


ZACL said...

PS pardon the two E. Europeans. I do wish there was an edit facility on replies to comments on blogspot.