Manners are reciprocal. If someone holds a door, say thank you. If you need something from a grocery shelf, and someone else is in the way, say "excuse me, please." Or ask them "could you please hand me a box of that cereal?" and then thank them.
Likewise, with youth, who seem these days to be totally out of touch, it is very important to set a good example, and give them positive feedback when they do the right thing. Here are two examples:
- Several years ago, I was shopping, and a little girl came up behind me, and said, "Excuse me please, can I get some of that?" (I forget the specific item; we were at a freezer case.) I was very pleasantly surprised, and looked around, and spotted the woman I took to be her mother. I approached her, and asked if that was her daughter. She at first looked startled; apprehensive, as if she were about to get a bad report. When I said to her, "I'd like to compliment you on having a very well-mannered young lady," she smiled as big a smile as smiles get, and thanked me for letting her know. I also made sure the young girl heard what I said.
- Recently I was at a public celebration event, and two young boys (probably not more than 2 or 3 years different in age, but who did not appear to be brothers) were in front of me in line for some shaved ice. It was a hot day, and the line was long. As they stood there, the younger boy was asking the other how much the cones were. At the reply of "$4.00," he looked shocked, and said, "I only have $5.00." He would not have enough money left for anything else. The older boy said nothing, but when we got to the window, the older boy ordered two cones, and waved the younger boy's money away, treating him to his shaved ice treat. I told the young man, "That was a very nice thing you just did for your friend." Kid like, he was a bit embarrassed, smiled, and shrugged, but I know he was probably beaming with pride inside to be noticed for doing an act of kindness.
It all comes back to the old, "What goes around comes around." Manners are like a boomerang. Use them, and be kind, and people will respond likewise.
Treat people like dirt, and don't be surprised to find yourself on the outside looking in, and used as a doormat.