Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Would good manners

help to reduce domestic violence?
I haven't followed it up but apparently one of our younger politicians is suggesting just that. I am appalled.
I am appalled not by the idea but that it actually has to be suggested. It should be a given. Good manners are about respecting each other aren't they?
I suppose the Senior Cat is very old fashioned. He believes in opening doors for women and walking on the outside of the footpath. He taught my brother to do the same thing and he taught his son. My sister and her  husband did the same with their boys.
The men I like the most are the men who behave with that sort of thoughtfulness.
I remember vividly the introductory lecture at law school. I think it shocked some of the students. It had nothing to do with the law. The Dean spoke quietly but firmly. This was the law school. It was a place where the behaviour expected in the law courts applied in the law school. That meant that people would respect one another. He went on to say, "Men will open doors for women here and women will respect them for doing it. Equally if a woman sees a man struggling to open a door she will hold it back for them. If you don't like that then please leave now because there is no place for you here."
Some of the "bib and braces brigade" as we called the then rather radical feminists didn't like it much but they accepted it. I always felt safe around the law school.
Some years before that I had occasion to be in Brixton, London on more than one occasion. It wasn't too bad during the day but I had to visit one of my research families one evening.
"Don't worry Cat I'll send the boys down to meet you," the mother said.
"The boys" turned out to be two teenagers dressed like "bovver" boys. We got stopped by the cops coming out of Brixton station. Was I, they wanted to know, all right?
Yes thank you, I told them, this was my escort. In the way that only London bobbies could they accepted it with a smile and told the boys to take good care of me.
And I did feel safe with them. Their manner was rough but their manners were impeccable. 
So  has something gone wrong since then? Have parents stopped teaching their children good manners? Do they now expect the schools to do that? What sort of message are children getting from the adults around them and, perhaps more importantly, from the media? 
Apparently there is a bit of media stir over the comments made by this politician. There shouldn't be. He's right. Good manners are about respect for one another. Domestic violence does not occur where there is respect for one another. 
I won't apologise for  saying that. 


jeanfromcornwall said...

You are right, Cat, respect is what it is all about. Even animals have codes of behaviour and ways of living that avoid aggression - if only the strategy of avoiding each other.

Anonymous said...

Respect is something that we have to earn, and using a few manners is the easiest way to get at least a little respect.