Mind your manners

Our reliance on smartphones, iPads and other tablets has led us to be much more insular in our attitude toward others.

There has been a considerable amount of conversation in the pages of the Oak Bay News lately about the level of conviviality we are sharing with our neighbours.

Rude and obnoxious behaviour are not the norm for our area, but there is significantly more navel gazing going on as of late.

Our reliance on smartphones, iPads and other tablets has led us to be much more insular in our attitude toward others.

As we “appear” to be more social, tweeting, texting, sharing our photos instantly in any number of ways, we are actually distancing ourselves from society.

Look around in the coffee shop and what do you see? Faces cast down, turned towards our technology.

Even toddlers in strollers are happily poking away at screens while busy parents wheel by what, just a few years ago, would have attracted a small child. A dog here, a raised bed of flowers there, petals falling from a cherry tree. All things missed by a child whose attention is instead drawn toward colourful characters and synthesized sound from a screen.

Much can be learned from being aware of your surroundings. You’re safer for one, if you keep your eyes on traffic, rather than a photo of your friend’s lunch popping up on your phone.

You may notice an elderly person in need of help crossing the street, or carrying groceries.

You may notice a youngster wandering away from the playground.

You may notice the face of the server in the coffee shop, smiling, offering help.

You may notice a friend sitting alone across the room, or perhaps, someone who may become a friend when a little conversation is started.

We may want to raise the Tweed Curtain to wave good bye to those who don’t like it here, as one reader suggests in this week’s letters. But instead, let’s look up at them and smile, say hello and offer the best of ourselves to each other.

That’s the Oak Bay way.

 

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