How do we remind people (of) their civic responsibilities?

A retired academic finds some children than their parents. She wonders if we can change adult attitudes for the better.

"Bad Pati." – said my twelve year old granddaughter.

This was her reaction to my dumping milk bags into the kitchen waste bin that contained only ‘wet waste’.

"Sorry dear, I won’t do it again." – I said feeling proud of my eco-friendly grandchild. Yes. I felt ashamed.

It is true that grown-ups should show more concern about such things in the presence of the younger generation. If we ‘pooh-pooh’ their remarks and continue to be callous it would be shameful.

I was walking in the park in our neighborhood and was rather upset when two youngsters threw the paper plates in which they had eaten Bhel Puri just across the lawn in the park. "ಕೆಳಗ್ ಎಸಿಬೇಡ ಮಗು, ಇಲ್ಲೇ ಡಸ್ಟ್ ಬಿನ್ ಇದೆ ನೋಡು" ("Don’t throw it down, the dustbin is just here, child"), I said showing the dustbin to one of the kids. The lady who was sitting on the bench was his mother, probably. "ಯಾಕೆ? ಈ ಪಾರ್ಕ್ ನಿಮ್ದಾ?" ("Why? Is this park yours?"), she asked in a rather rude tone. I did not feel like continuing the conversation.

I have come across a number of elders like this. A few years ago, I worked in a school. We had a science fair in our school premises to which parents came as invitees. A number of stalls were arranged where snacks and eats were sold. During their eating spree, I noticed quite a few of the adults throwing paper plates, tissues and cardboard cups all around. Their wards, feeling embarrassed were picking them up and throwing them in the dustbins provided close to the stalls. It was their wards’ school where the children were supposed to learn civic sense and etiquette. The students had to coax their parents not to strew things around.

"Why are you picking up the mess? Don’t you have servants in your school?", one mother asked her son.

"Mamma, please don’t throw things like this. This is our school and we have to keep it clean and tidy", the boy pleaded.

It did not seem to make any impression on her. I noticed a scowl on her face.

It is sad that many adults are not aware of what civic sense is. Civic sense is nothing but environmental protection and reducing bad habits in our selves. Why are we like this? The neighborhood, society and public property do belong to us in a way. We cannot litter them just because they are not our property.

We are supposed to be staying in an extension where people are educated and civic minded. But I do see a number of men peeing on the walls of a swimming pool that is close to us. Whenever I notice men urinating against a wall in public I feel nauseated. The helplessness that overcomes me at such times is something I cannot explain. The man would be well dressed, seemingly educated, but he can’t control himself until he reaches home. How do we tackle such people? Being a woman is more of a disadvantage. I don’t even feel like looking at them and I turn away. In what way will this reaction help?

"People won’t pee on the walls where there are Gods’ pictures, Pati", says my grandson.

Can we display Gods’ pictures wherever there are walls?

How do we stop this practice? I just do not know. Does anyone have any suggestion?

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