The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket. Shootings, explosions, vitriolic political sniping, domestic violence. What the heck is going on?
When I was a child, one of the things my parents drummed into me is “Be polite.” I’ll never forget how I learned to watch my tongue before rudeness erupted from it.
I was five years old. My dad worked for the Boy Scouts, so we had to spend a chunk of the summer in Boy Scout Camp. You can imagine how exciting that was for a five year old girl! Not to mention for my mom, who had to try to keep me occupied.
One day, the wife of one of the other Boy Scout executives came to visit with her baby. Poor baby wasn’t happy, and began to cry. Nothing seemed to soothe him. His mother said, “I’m so sorry he’s crying. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
I said, “Maybe you should take him home, then.”
While my mother stared at me in horror, the woman said, “Maybe I should,” and she packed him up and left.
Boy, did I get scolded! But the worst part was, my mother told me I had to go over to the woman’s cabin and apologize for being rude. Naturally, I wandered out to play and in short order, managed to forget I was supposed to apologize.
Evening came, dinner was over, I was in my pajamas. Mom asked me, “Did you go over to apologize?”
I’m sure I went white. I mumbled, “No, I didn’t.” She wouldn’t make me go in the dark, would she?
“You’ll have to go now, then,” she said firmly, in that voice that meant there would be no argument allowed.
So, bundled up in my bathrobe and slippers, I slunk over to the nearby cabin and knocked on the door. The woman came to the door and when I saw her, I started to cry. I was crying so hard, I could barely get out the words: “I’m…sob!…sorry…gasp!…I was…honk!…rude today.”
She and her husband were amazingly nice, bringing me into their cabin for a cup of cocoa and assuring me all was fine. It was quite an ordeal, but I survived it. BUT you better believe I learned my lesson and never, ever was that rude again.
So what does this have to do with the sorry state of the world?
I’m convinced if everyone used their best manners, was polite when dealing with friends and strangers alike, the world would be a much nicer, friendlier, safer place. So everyone, please dust off those manners and let’s make the world the way it ought to be: beautiful.