Good manners, while we had them, made life easier.
No one knows exactly when good manners were killed off, but for sure they are gone from our society never to return again…
This is really sad when you really think about it. Let me tell you a little story which I feel plays a part in the death of good manners…
One day not long after the relocation to Chisasibi from the island. I went to visit one of my cousins. We were sitting around the table chatting among ourselves. I saw my uncle standing by the window, watching the children go by on their way to school. He must have been waiting for the right bunch to walk by. As soon as they came by his house, he knocked on the window to get their attention. When they looked his way, he held up his forefinger to them and he laughed. My cousin and I went to the window to see to whom he was giving to finger. We saw some kids passing by and they were laughing at his gesture. My cousin asked him why he was giving these kids the finger and he said that every time they pass by they were always lifting their fingers at him and he thought this was some sort of greeting that the young people were practicing these days and he just wanted to greet them in their own way.
We thought it was funny at that time but I soon realized that this was an example of disrespect to an Elder as well as a gesture of bad manners. If these kids had been taught about good manners and how to respect their Elders, either at home or in school, they might never have given the finger to my uncle or to anyone else, for that matter. And God only knows that the effect of such things is potently cumulative.
I believe that such a thing as good manners consists of respect for the natural state of things, since the world was created for us to share and to enjoy, so let us enjoy it together.
Good manners died the day these kids first give my uncle the finger and even after all the wishing or backward gazing nothing can ever change the fact that someone out there killed off decent good manners and it’s quite impossible that they will ever return again.
M.S. is from Chisasibi.