The Tensile Strength Of Courtesy

It Is A Wise Thing To Be Polite; Consequently, It Is A Stupid Thing To Be Rude. To Make Enemies By Unnecessary And Willful Incivility, Is Just As Insane A Proceeding As To Set Your House On Fire. For Politeness Is Like A Counter–an Avowedly False Coin, With Which It Is Foolish To Be Stingy.

— Arthur Schopenhauer

The other day, we were discussing how the youth of nowadays seem to lack the courtesy of the older folks of yesteryears.

You are in a crowded bus, see an older person, stand up to allow the person sit down. You are on a long queue to use the ATM machine. You see an old man also queuing. Let the man use the ATM to alleviate his stress. Little things that show respect for an older folk – are getting rarer by the day.

The manner of talking too.

A students is taking to his lecturer, and using gutter language fit only for the night club.

Yeah, yup, shit, fuck, you betcha!

The discussion about the apparent increasingly rude world was highly polarized, with the older ones insisting on the need to uphold the African traditional values of respecting the elder, and the younger ones arguing against this, saying what we call respect is not really tied to respect.

A Smart Alec youngster with propensity for cuss words said,

I pray I never grow into a grumpy olyld man who expects every young person passing by to prostate like an Agama lizard.

Greeting elders respectfully, a rssilt of proper home training is obviously not high on his list of priorities !

So, the same issue happens recently, and the same dichotomy in the reasoning of the older versus younger (at heart) folks was evident.

Someone, an older folk, wonders aloud,

Of all the problems we have to solve and all the good we can do, we are offended by a younger person who addresses us by first name? Incredible
.

Being a Yoruba man, he has obviously embraced ethereal liberalism! I am not that gifted.!

This is Africa. We have culture (or used to). Those cultures are dying out gradually because the younger folks think those things are archaic.
Our dressing, manner of talk are getting less African, by the day.

Sadly, many of the parents are also negligent in the way they raise their kids. Children are like clay in the hand of the potter.

Someone insists,

Adressing someone as sir or ma, brother this and aunty that isn’t culture. Prostrating or bowing to you when I greet you doesn’t mean I respect you .

Besides, in social studies, we learned that culture is dynamic, always changing . Therefore, there is nothing anybody can do to stop it..

Also note that a particular culture is not binding on every culture; there are other cultures, so do not expect everybidy to subscribe to your particular cultural type of “respect”.

I once wrote a post Please Identify Yourself and It Takes A Man Of Culture To Reject Some Culture.. While I am all for the dynamism of culture, encouraging or accepting rudeness to older folks from the younger generation is not the cultural dynamism we are advocating.

We could change our culture of ubiquitous corruption, so that no one can retort,

What Has Your Great Nigerian Culture Done For Nigeria? We Are Still The Most Corrupt Nation In The World Despite Your Harping On Culture. Let’s Focus On That Instead.


Does it matter if a nineteen year old hellion says, ‘Hi’ to someone old enough to be his Dad, and stretching his hand for a handshake? What possible effect does lack of courtesy wreak on society? Is it imoirtant to speak decently instead of all the swear words / expletives, especially when addressing an older folk?


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