Nick, My wife is a teacher's assistant at the local 'junior' schoool - so the kids there are under 12 and some of those are already out of control. The 'bad' kids get the rewards - presumably the theory being is if we treat them well, they'll snap out of it. To me it just encourages them to behave badly and become bullies. I lived through corporal punishment at school - board rubbers whistling past your ears (if you were lucky and the teacher had a bad aim) - it was never a problem UNLESS there was victimisation and that seemed to get picked up. My old Latin teacher had a nice trick of grabbing the hairs just above your sideburns (? well at least where sideburns would grow at some point) and quickly jerking it down then back up. Soon made you stop talking - didn't make you any good at Latin though....;-)!
My parents always said that if the school/teachers punished me, I'd get it twice as bad when I got home. I also used to stand up for people on buses - women, old people, infirm. Open doors for people. It was not about being 'smarmy' - just simply 'respect'. When did that word get hijacked and turned into a meaningless nonsense by thugs? Respect has gone - not only because of what you said, but due to the erosion of trust. We don't trust the police, politicians, bank managers, doctors - all greed and money. Community has gone - people now travle to other towns to work. They don't know their neighbours, let alone what's happening in their town.
Do the simple things and the big things will take care of themselves - when you walk down the road, smile at people you pass - say hello (not on a busy street obviously) - build community. Help people that you see in trouble. Let that car out of the side road. Hold that door open - and smile as you do it. If everyone started to do the small things and got it back into their kids that that was the way to be, then it would start changing again.
Off topic - maybe - but if you can't see the effect of what's been said by various people in this thread on football then.... the loyalty, respect, greed...
Anyway a quick rant never did anyone any harm at all - irrespective of their age