The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Reckon - WORDS// RACHAEL JANSEN

When it comes to one of the most im­por­tant lessons my kids are learn­ing, I won’t find a re­sult on their re­port card at the end of the year. I will see a com­ment about it on those re­ports – and it will be me who is be­ing marked. It’s the com­ment about how re­spect­ful they are to oth­ers and, from where I stand, the abil­ity my kids have to show re­spect to oth­ers – even those they don’t agree with – will take them fur­ther in life than any A will.

It doesn’t take a ge­nius to see re­spect and man­ners have taken a plunge down a stinky drain of self-cen­tred free and ugly speech in our so­ci­ety.

Once upon a time, to make a pub­lic com­ment, you had to take the time to write a let­ter and send it to some­one who was able to vet for stan­dards.

Now, we live in a so­ci­ety of key­board war­riors who fire off com­men­tary as un­in­formed as it is un­in­tel­li­gent and cer­tainly un­kind, with lit­tle thought to how the per­son or peo­ple at the other end of the di­a­tribe might ac­tu­ally feel.

The golden rule of on­line read­er­ship is to skip the com­ments. Just don’t read them lest you end up feel­ing the world is full of hate­filled, bit­ter peo­ple who don’t seem to have any fil­ters and cer­tainly lack con­sid­er­a­tion.

This is the world I’m rais­ing my kids in and the world into which I must even­tu­ally send them.

Con­stant ex­po­sure to a lack of man­ners and non-ex­is­tent bound­aries leads to a de­sen­si­ti­sa­tion to the type of be­hav­iour we once would have been shocked at.

We risk this kind of dis­re­spect and freefor-all be­com­ing nor­malised and very quickly it’s a case of mon­key see, mon­key do and so­ci­ety’s stan­dards slip another notch.

I want my chil­dren to not only live by a higher stan­dard, but also to ex­pect it from oth­ers. To not al­low those who would seek to speak with­out thought to pass on that neg­a­tiv­ity and venom. It’s easy to show re­spect, kind­ness and man­ners to some­one who you agree with. The stan­dard though is set in how you show it to some­one who you don’t.

It’s then that you can show a kind­ness and try to un­der­stand where some­one else is com­ing from, re­gard­less of if you think they de­serve it or not. The old adage “if you have noth­ing kind to say, don’t say any­thing at all” is as sound ad­vice now as it was years ago.

If only those war­riors who spew their caus­tic com­ments would fol­low it and sim­ply click un­like and move along in­stead.

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