Catching a little hand just as it was poised to plunge into a pile of poo a few days ago, I held back an expletive worthy of a sailor.
Being 16 months old, everything our little cherub’s hands go into also goes into her mouth — and on our furniture — so when one of our “lovely” neighbours allows their dog to leave steaming little “gifts” of excrement over our front lawn it’s a bit of a nightmare.
At the very moment of my desire to swear, I remember a rebuke I copped from my wonderful grandmother after she had caught me being mean to a fellow child at school when I was just five years old: “If you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all”.
Chastened to my very core by the woman who, up until that point, had never told me she was “disappointed” in me or my behaviour, I promised right then and there to always try and live by her wise adage, which she told me sternly was just “common decency and good manners”.
I’ve always tried to remember and honour that promise, and I think in an era where we all live so much closer together — both physically and online with the various social media avenues afforded us — we all need to be more aware of the effect we have on others.
Never have we been quicker to let people know when they offend or upset us with the woke brigade happily shouting us down if we dare step a foot out of their “tolerance” levels.
But the reality is we wouldn’t need these politically correct police if we just remembered those lessons in common decency our parents taught us and, as my grandmother would preach, we do unto others as we would have them do to us.
It’s an old philosophy — as old as the Bible, no less — and yet it’s a good ’un.
Never have we been quicker to let people know when they offend or upset us with the woke brigade happily shouting us down if we dare step a foot out of their ‘tolerance’ levels.
On top of toddler poo-gate, this week alone in my northern suburbs bolt-hole I’ve stepped in dog poo at the local park (presumably left by an owner who was either on their phone and didn’t spot it, or deliberately left it there), had a package stolen from our doorstep and listened to a hoon on a moped tearing up a nearby street in the early hours.
And this is all before I’ve even logged into social media.
I won’t offend your sensibilities by listing the lack of manners there.
We claim to “communicate” more than ever and much is made — quite rightly — of Perth housing block sizes getting smaller and smaller.
Yet we appear to have abandoned the little things in life that should accompany such change, such as saying please and thank you and remembering the universe doesn’t necessarily revolve around us.
Turns out my grandmother’s lessons, while they came from a generation removed from the rapid pace of the modern world, ring more true than ever.