Where has common courtesy gone?

I’ve noticed a creeping lack of civility overtaking our society.

Whether it’s the shopping cart left unattended in the middle of the aisle while the shopper chats on their phone, oblivious to all who are impeded by this thoughtlessness, or the self-important person allowing the door to slam shut in the face of an obviously disabled individual. The rampant lack of common courtesy and manners is stunning and offensive.

We can’t blame all of this on the problems with our economy, and we can’t blame it solely on the self-contained “bubble” effect created when we’re on our phones, tablets or music devices. We have to own this problem and prevent it from getting worse.

I was taught to think of others before myself. I was taught to be polite, kind and helpful. One of the greatest lessons I learned was, of course, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Nowhere did I learn to cut in front of people while waiting in line. I didn’t learn to shout profanities at other people from my car, or that my needs and wants are more important than another person’s.

I’ve made a conscious decision to continue being polite in the face of rudeness, to be kind, even when kindness isn’t warranted, and to be thoughtful in an ocean of thoughtlessness. By doing so, I honor my parents and the lessons they taught me.

By upholding civility, we give our children a society where every citizen has equal value, and we pass on to future generations a sense of compassion, caring and order. These things have immense importance.

We’re a civilized society, standing on the shoulders of other civilizations spanning thousands of years. Let’s honor the gift they’ve bequeathed us and the lessons our parents taught us.

Pamela Lang

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