Thursday, April 20, 2006

The fall of civilization

Last night while my husband and I were enjoying a lazy evening at a coffee shop, a cute little girl and her mother entered. The little girl was around three years old, perhaps, and a bit fidgety (hopefully not because of drinking coffee). We were sitting outside enjoying the weather when the little girl came out of the coffee shop and very meticulously placed her chewing gum on the mat outside the store. The mother observed this behavior, and did not say a word.

Now, I don't know how things are in this day and age, but when I was little and it was time to dispose of my gum I told my mommy and she gave me a napkin or tissue to put it in. I never took it upon myself to dispose of my gum of my own free will and I certainly never would have placed it outside where people walk. I won't even put my gum in a trash can without wrapping it in something. I'm not naive, I do realize that people have been placing their gum underneath desks and tables and on walls for years, but at least that isn't in the line of traffic. This kid went out of her way to be evil.

Of course, my husband told the waiter before we left and he took care of the errant gum. But I have to say with each little incident like that I am more and more horrified at the state of civilization today.


christina said...

It's weird what people let their kids get away with, isn't it?

traveller one said...

and spitting-- what's with that??

Flubberwinkle said...

You're right. Bad parenting leads to lack of culture and civilized manners. If someone had told the mother at that very moment and embarrassed her maybe it would have drawn out her "filotimo"; humbled her and speak with the child that what she did was wrong.

Franz said...

Don't forget we are in Greece. Littering is something that really doesn't get much stigma here.

I've seen people throw garbage out the window in front of police patrol cars and nothing was done.

I've seen families leave their garbage, food, cigarette butts, etc., on the beach and when I protested, I received a shrug.

I have helped many times on clean up patrols by volunteer groups to clean beaches, mountains, etc, and it's sad that the majority of people who attend these events are either foreigners, or hyphenated Greeks. I rarely see any local, native Greeks on these events, and even trying to convince my neighbor not to litter gets me little more than the Greek Salute (i.e., eye's rolled up, shrugged shoulders, hands out palms up).

In Germany, the streets are clean, littering is frowned upon, and even illegal there.

If the Greek authorities are not willing to enforce laws (if they have laws against littering), and people are not taught at an early age that this is wrong, why should anyone else care?

Education is the key. Greeks pride themselves on being educated in many ways, but cleanliness outside the home alludes them and appears to be someone else's problem.

Solution: Let's teach the kids in school at an early age that littering is wrong. Parents should reinforce this at home. More PSA's on television wouldn't hurt, and then maybe we'd be on the right track.

I realize other countries have litter problems also. But, since Greece is a modern European society, I just expected more from them, than say, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka.