Recently, on a social media site, a video clip was shared that showed a man who held a door open for a woman as she was exiting behind him. However, as the man was holding open the door, the woman walked through it without acknowledging his kind gesture. In response, the man was shown as he grabbed the woman by her arm; pulled her backwards into the store where he then proceeded to exit once again. This time, however, he did not catch the door. Instead, he allowed it to swing shut in the now bewildered woman’s face. The message the video apparently wanted to send was that if one does not show appreciation for a simple courtesy, then the doer is entitled to *take back* the gesture.
So, is this message the correct one to send to the youth of the world? The better question may be whether we are owed respect by others? If that is the correct question; what then is the correct response? If one is not given respect, shall it be demanded? Many of the older generations may answer with a resounding “Yes!”
Let us look at the issue though, from the other side. If it is the right thing to do, to show kindness and courtesy to others, does it then become the right thing to do to refuse that same kindness or courtesy if that respect is never forthcoming? Or, is it simply correct to demonstrate kindness because it is the humane and decent thing to do? When we are kind to the very young or the disabled, do we do so in order to get an acknowledgement? If not, then why is it expected to be given acknowledgment from others?
What happened to the old adage that kindness is its own reward? Yes, there is also one about “Do unto others”, but that takes its own circuitous route that can lead nowhere. What if the *others* don’t return the courtesy? Have we slipped so far as a society, that we need constant affirmation in order to do what is right, whether it gets rewarded, or not?
On the other hand, why does society at large appear to have lost the ability to show gratitude for a kindness done for them? What does it say about the world today if no one appears to know the correct response to an everyday, normal courtesy? To what cause can the blame be laid? Have parents failed in the example they set for their children? Is it the responsibility of the schools and the larger society to instill kindness and respect for toward others? Why does there seem to be a general coarseness to life?
There may be no simpler answer than to just make it a habit to disconnect from our plugged in society now and then and look one another in the eye. A simple human connection may be enough to bring civility and respect back into our world.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.