I remember when chivalry died. I spoke at its funeral, sad as it was.
What I don’t remember is when manners and respect died. It must have been a quick death, because it seems like one day I woke up and they were gone.
The other day, on a packed bus, a pregnant woman searched for a seat she would never find. The so-called gentlemen sat there watching her, while they enjoyed the comfort of their seats.
Naturally, anyone would be angry if that woman was their mother. But she wasn’t, she was a stranger.
Just like the old man who tried to find a seat on the bus, while lazy, able-bodied college students sat in the elderly and handicapped section refusing to sacrifice their seats. Why is that I, a woman sitting in the middle of the bus, gave up my seat long before the men in the front offered theirs?
Even on campus, I have seen students with an inch of power try to wield it over adults almost twice their age. That power convinces them that they are justified to raise their voice. There are fundamental principles that we were raised on: respect your elders and women of any age, as well as helping people in need. But we have forgotten them.
Sometimes we dislike people so much that we convince ourselves it is OK to disrespect someone because “they deserve it.” Unless we’re on the same level as God, then we have some nerve determining who does and doesn’t deserve respect.
It is our elders who have gotten us as a people this far. It is the women who bear our children and carry on our name. So why are they the ones we are disrespecting?
Instead of burying respect and manners, dig a grave for disrespect.
Respect and manners must live on in our children, and they can only do that if we instill them. We have a duty as parents, older siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles to help raise our children to not only stand up for themselves, but for others.
One day each of us will be that old woman or man on the bus. How do you want the story to end?
Danielle Wright, 24, is a senior theater student from London. She is editor in chief of The Famuan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.