Calling Bullshit On…. Teaching Manners In A Rude World

Learning manners is part of growing up. Not as important as learning to walk and feeding yourself but part of growing up nonetheless. I remember being little and my Mother dutifully instructing me ‘Say thank you to the nice lady’, ‘Ashling, say excuse me as you go by’ etc. Like a little parrot I copied my Mother, said what I was supposed to say and in time manners became automatic to me.

Well today I’m calling BULLSHIT on teaching manners because we now live in an increasingly rude world.

The playground

I don’t allow my children to climb up slides. I don’t care if you allow yours to, that is not my business. However, what is my business is, if your child scoots down the slide, turns around at the end and climbs up for another go. All while my child patiently waits at the top for a go and you look the other way. AND THEN YOUR CHILD DOES IT ALL OVER AGAIN! Being the utter coward and believer in a queuing system that I am, I’m more likely to mutter under my breath than confront you. But you know this and that is why you can casually look the other way.

Road junctions

As any parent will tell, drop off and pick up times at school are the ultimate traffic nightmares. Sometimes, you need to let cars out at junctions or the whole place gets clogged up. Other cars often let me out and I do the same. My question is this, when did it become acceptable to NOT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE that another car is letting you out? I’m not talking about beeping horns and waving like a loon here. I just mean a nod or (God forbid), a smile to show that you are aware of the other person’s existence.

Holding open doors

It is polite to hold the door open for the person coming behind you so that the door does not slam in their face. If the person behind you has their hands full, you might even hold the door open for them to go through before you. So why is it that some people (who do not have their hands full) march straight through without so much as a thank you? I’ve started reminding people of their manners by saying ‘Thank you’ very loudly to anyone who does this and they usually look incredulous. Perhaps I’m in the wrong and my red coat makes me mistakenly look like a footman? I’d still say thank you to a footman.

ATM machines

Yet another queuing story. Bear with me. Recently, I was in a very long ATM queue. One of my children was feeling sick and the other was tired after a few hours shopping. The queue snaked forward agonisingly slowly until I was second in line. The girl in front was then joined by two buddies. As soon as Girl 1 finished her transaction, Girl 2 slipped her ATM card into the machine.

I literally saw red and thought to myself ‘There is no way Girl 3 is getting in front of me’. Girl 2 hardly had her cash taken from the machine when I barged in and shoved my card into the ATM, scattering the girls like skittles. I turned red with embarrassment and I felt so rude. No words were exchanged but Girl 3 slipped into the queue behind me and all was quiet…

Now, I’m sure for every one of my stories, you could tell me 3 more. I suppose I need to acknowledge that my children are growing up in an increasingly rude society. So, while manners are still important, perhaps they are not as important as they once were and teaching my children to stand up for themselves in an increasingly rude world is far more important.

Sorry for the rant.

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