It's easy to join the snarky chorus and complain about the state of the world today, and to include condescending complaints about the ways of whatever generation is younger than your own. I love a little well-placed snark, but for now, here is a morsel of anti-snark.
I work in a gritty town at a large public university teeming with diverse young'uns. These little teens, with their little thighs in their little leggings with the little boots, and the boys with their carefully chosen sneakers and caps and swear words, trailing iPod headphones and backpacks. On a weekly basis, the surprise hits me: it is amazing how much these students hold the door open for each other, and for me, and thank each other for doing so. It softens my heart. College is hallways and doorways and motion and rushing from one place to another. I am constantly opening heavy glass-and-metal doors in crowded spaces, such as the walkway that links the building I work in to the student union. Young people who seem to be not even paying attention pause their forward motion and hold their arm there on the door, waiting for me to take the weight of the door from them in a chain of open-doorness.
Sometimes it is easy to hold a door open for someone. Sometimes it's the obvious choice. But every week there is some young little student who waits a beat or two or five beyond, to hold the door for me, a stranger. And I realize that I probably would have moved on by then.
Kids these days... Turns out, they are a good influence on me. My arm is holding the door for you.