I’ve never wanted to be a “society” columnist or an advice columnist. I’m no Ann Landers or even Miss Manners, whom I read faithfully.

But I do have some advice I’m compelled to share because it’s bugging me.

As the years go on, I’m learning to allow people to help me when I need help, and that’s a hard lesson. I hope all my readers who are entering their later years are learning to be grateful for kindnesses.

On the other side of the coin are the helpers, and they’re legion. Thank goodness.

But some of them need to learn a few things about how to be most helpful. A few tips may help the helpers help those needing help.

When you see someone who looks like they might need assistance, don’t reach out and grab them. The only exception to this is you can grab if they look like they’re going to fall. But be careful. You might get squashed.

To assist someone, reach out an arm. A nice arm, straight and level with the ground, is exactly the right kind of prop for someone who’s trying to walk without falling.

Think of all the gentlemen leading all the ladies onto the dance floor for the waltz. Or the gentlemen escorting the ladies in a grand entrance or a parade of royalty. You get the drift, I hope.

The extended arm, just right to help you balance, is much, much better than someone holding your hand. Hand-holding can get pretty rickety. Arms are better.

The next advice I can give to helpers, and I mean this in the kindest way, is to not walk so fast.

I got escorted through the parking lot and into the church one day by a sweet and helpful person.

But when I got to my destination, I had to stop for several minutes and catch my breath.

We had traveled too fast. All us old folks go at a slower pace, watching our steps to keep from falling and timing our travels to take full advantage of our less-than-perfect lungs.

I realize most of you reading this are probably more in the needing help category, but maybe there’s a younger person out there who might take heed of my suggestions. I hope so.

Chatting over the internet recently with a fellow writer, I opined that younger people are no longer reading newspapers. Some aren’t even watching the television news. If they’re getting all their information from the internet, they’re sadly uninformed, I believe.

Most of the advice I’ve been distributing today is pretty old-school, but I think today’s modern times also deserve some modern versions of etiquette.

Women are taking over all the responsibilities of men, and that should probably include responsibilities of politeness.

For instance, if you’re the first one to the door, you can surely open it for a man.

If you’re walking on the sidewalk, your companion doesn’t have to get nearest to the roadway to keep you from being splashed with mud from the horses drawing the carriages.

So, whomever you are, get out there and help somebody, whether they like it or not.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at cathy.gillentine@comcast.net.

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(3) comments

Carlos Ponce

Opening doors for someone is a kind gesture to the old, for the young, to men, women, boys, girls, the able bodied and the disabled. When in New York City, I would go ahead of the group of students and hold the door open for them to enter...or leave a building. Then it became a race as to who would open the door, me or one of the students. Children learn by example.

Charles Douglas

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ( Proverbs 22:6 ). This what Ms. Cathy and Mr. Ponce are speaking of here should be a priority in this country AGAIN!!!!! I say again, because more and more it would seem that behaviors like those they spoke about are disappearing from sight in this nation, and in this world!

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Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Springer

It is important to preserve the family unit. This is the time that could be utilized to work on manners, talk about daily happenings, etc. I do not call it 'training up ' a child. I think that family time is a great time to address things that all children should learn when they are young. In my family, we learned to speak one at a time. That is how I taught my daughter. In today's world, it is a competition just to get a word in. So many people talk over each other; it is crazy !! While we all are important we should not have to compete to have a conversation. In the manner department, we spoke about opening doors and when to do so. While I raised a daughter I did teach her to open a door for a person who needed assistance no matter if they were male or female. It would be nice if everyone practiced that. None of us appreciated having the door slammed on us when our hands are full. Helping people in need is the key. There are many things that need to be taught. Until the family comes together as a unit I think a lot of that teaching will go by the wayside. Each family must decide what is a priority in their family when they raise their children. Of course, studying became a habit. On the flip side, homework should be assigned and textbooks should be issued to students. I will not speak anymore about that. That would be a whole new chapter.

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