Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Courtesy has (not yet) died

My family went out to eat in a small restaurant in our neighborhood one evening. The place was crowded and the space was limited. While we were waiting for our meals, Nina accidentally dropped her cutleries and a small plate onto the floor. A family of four was passing our table when that incident happened. One of the young boys, I am guessing around 10-12 years old, smiled and quickly knelt down to pick up the mess my Nina has created on the floor. My husband immediately stood up and tried to stop him, saying it was not necessary for him to do that, but the boy continued doing it, put everything back on the table and smiled at Nina, "Ini, Dek." His family stood around and smiled too.

I, as usual, was too stunned to speak. I think I still managed to utter an awkward “Thank You.” There is no way I would do what this young boy has done. To a bunch of strangers? Definitely No Way! Let the waitress do that stuff.

The point that I was stunned is actually the problem. When it comes to helping others, my mindset, behavior and my generosity were limited only to my inner circle.. or to people whom I think are important to me. Basic courtesy and generosity have no place in my complicated mind. And it is so sad, isn't it? Because what I think and how I behave will, by default, pass down to my kids. I doubt that my kids would do what that young boy has done. They are too busy with their own world and too (big-city) ignorant to be concern with others around them. On contrary, the family of that young boy has instilled certain basic courtesy and proper manner to their kids.

I remember one of my friends used to write in her facebook status. “ Courtesy has died.” “ Courtesy is a rare thing that only belongs in a museum.” I think this is the perfect moment for me to shout out to everyone, that courtesy has not yet died. It lives in young people. It is now up to us to produce a generation who has (more) courtesy and (less) selfish. Stop cutting lines, stop arguing over small things, start respecting, start discussing, and start smiling…

There is no better way of accomplishing that other than setting up examples. After all, that's the only job we as parents, must do. Setting an example, that is.

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