Having to watch the national failure of handling the current pandemic, haplessly, I am filled with a glaring question -where did we all go wrong?And my answer somewhere peeps through my understanding of etiquette, which is the reflection of the personality of a tribe. It’s the evolution of a society. It’s a dictionary of social and communal behaviour. It makes the society alive with an identity.
Etiquette is a set of rules that are taught, practised, corrected, retaught, relearnt, practised and finally internalised till it becomes a habit. Hence it makes relevant sense to club habits with etiquette. Even with the havoc the virus has wreaked, it’s sad to still see men spit out on the streets. Bazaars are still thronging with unmasked faces. We are still being taught how to wash our hands, wear masks and keep social distancing- why aren’t we practising these on our own?
The virus might live and grow with us – who knows? What we can do is internalise the habits of Covid-appropriate behaviour. It would be a good idea for parents to inculcate good habits in children so that staying safe and healthy becomes a way of life for them. Habit of being careful, not careless. Habit of crisis management, of being a responsible family person and a responsible citizen.
For a safe future
Set strong ground rules. Teaching your child to be responsible is the first step towards ensuring that they grow up to be caring and mindful adults. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. So let us teach them about inappropriate behaviour and its unpleasant consequences. Educate them, not just inform. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit. You can find ways to make it fun, like making up your own handwashing song or turning it into a game to teach kids the correct way to wash hands and the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating. Building handwashing skills takes time. At first, your child will need regular reminders of how and when to wash hands.
(Chaudhary is a Chandigarh-based image and style consultant)