by Paul Big Bear
How many of you were told as a child about the importance of “Doing it right” “Take pride in what you do” “Strive for perfection?” What chores or tasks were you given to apply these guidelines? Clean up your room, take out trash, do your homework, rake the leaves, perhaps care for a pet? Were you told to take pride in the things you do? How about “Do it right the first time and you won’t have to do it over.”
Were you told to wear clean underware in case you were in an accident? Mom made sure your clothes were clean and pressed for a reason. Comb your hair, wash your face and behind your ears, shine your (dress) shoes, clean under your finger nails, brush your teeth, how many instructions? Were you ever sent back in the house to do that right? Table manners; elbow off the table, napkin on your lap, don’t slurp your food, slow down no one is going to take your food (you never ate with my family), and this one, close your mouth when chewing and don’t speak with food in your mouth.
All of these guidelines were meant to help you grow up and be an acceptable member of society. How about stand up when a woman enters the room, offer your seat to a woman or the elderly, open a door for the same, shake hands, greet with a “Nice to meet you sir (Ma’am – Doctor – Mr. – Mrs. – etc) look them in the eyes and with men make sure it’s a firm hand shake. There were rules for everything; answering the phone, the door, a letter, or a question. These things were for a reason, “pride”, pride in yourself and your family’s pride in you.
So what happened? When did mumbled, slang language become acceptable? When did the use of profanity become a part of our normal speech? If you had used such vulgarities at the dinner table would you find finishing your meal difficult? I almost forgot this one “Take your hat off in the house, especially at the table.” So what happened? Somehow RESPECT became a thing of the past, respect for others, as well as having respect for you. Somewhere we have lost a great strength, character. How do we rectify this? Can we bring back pride? Or, is your answer “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”