I shouldn’t have been taken by surprise, but I was. The little toddler, aged two, (coming up three, mum said) wanted to have a look at the box she had in the little plastic carrier bag. Her little hands couldn’t juggle between holding onto the handle of the bag and getting into it. “Can I help you?” I asked. When she had examined the pretty box, the little girl replaced it in the bag, which I held open for her. Then she took one handle at a time. When assured the bag was secure in her hand, the toddler looked up at me and said, “Thank you very much“; when I recovered from my momentary surprise, I told her that she was very welcome. Then she happily trotted off.
It was a delightful interaction however, it has left me thinking about my reaction. I have got used to the change in present day manners. It does not mean I am tolerant of it. It does mean though, that the expression of manners is more of a rarity than I had been aware of. Later in the day, I watched an older child accepting a purchase and thank the saleswoman; she spoilt the effect though, by turning to mum, (who had paid for the item) and giving her a hard time…..a case of familiarity breeding contempt.
Where do manners go from this point?