What Happened to Her Manners?

16 Aug, 2012 at 7:00 am | Written by: Heather Riggleman

Each week Jen, Leslie and I like to discuss a topic like we would with our girlfriends. This week, I want to know what happened to well-behaved adults and kids. Would you be willing to let your child be creatively disciplined for the sake of his character?

We are referring to two different articles for this diffusion: Teen Makes Public Apology on Southwest Airlines, and a recent video on YouTube where kids are making fun of their adult sponsor and filming it, but you can read about the amazing kindness of others towards the Bus Monitor, Karen Klein.

**Heather’s View**

As Terri and I strolled our way back to our five start hotel room (I mention this because I wanted you to know we thought we were surrounded by people of refined character…key word: thought),  we passed a mother and her daughter. This little girl was wearing a Shrek headband. Being that we were all mothers and were enjoying the scenery around us, Terri asked the mom how much the Shrek-eared headband was and where she could get one. 

Much to my surprise and shock, the woman rolled her eyes and in a snotty tone replied,

How would I know? It came with the package we got.

She grabbed her daughter and turned up her nose as she walked away. :-( Not even an hour later, my friends were standing in line to check in at Paradise Cove for a little relaxation and tanning. When one of the ladies turned and snarled,

What?

Apparently–looking at her warranted this reply. These women were little girls once, so my question is this? What happened to manners? Furthermore, what happened to smiling faces and good old Nebraska values of common courtesy?

On the ride home, I had plenty of time to think about those lovely Texas-style encounters when I came across another article about rude kids. This one in particular decided to cut in line while boarding the plane.

(Read article here.)

But the one that appalls me the most and makes me wonder if we are a nation of self-absorbed, self-centered, obnoxious people is Karen Klein of Greece, New York who was bullied by middle school kids.  (We decided not to show the video as we didn’t want to give those kids any glory.)  

The golden rule is part of the Riggleman code of ethics, we treat others how we want to be treated, regardless of who is being snotty and crabby. And (most of the time) when we venture out our front door, others hold themselves to the same values. My goal is to set the example of what manners look like for my kids. The last thing I want is for them to act like those kids on that bus or the women we encountered. 

And if my children misbehaved the way the teen did on the flight, I would so LOVE for his or her teacher to teach them a creative lesson like apologizing to the whole plane.  I know a couple of adults  who need this dose of discipline too. Maybe I should pull out my Auto B Good DVD’s or  even Veggie Tales. 

**Jen’s View**

First – I LOVE that the coach in the above video made the kid apologize.  More authority figures should be doing that.
Second – The kids on the bus are HORRIBLE.  Just horrible.  There is no excuse.  Parents, let’s work together to stop this from happening again.

I see a lot of lessons in how to treat people start at the train table at my public library.

“Wait your turn,” “Don’t push,” “You can’t have ALL the trains,” “No hitting or spitting,” “Let the little ones have a turn, too!”

In fact, I’ve read that kids learn most of their social behavior before their 5th birthday.  BEFORE THEY HEAD TO SCHOOL.

Children behave as they see adults behave.   That’s a problem in some places.

Did you see this fight?  Parents punching after a little league game:

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Here’s the video.

Seriously?

Interestingly, I see the most rude people during Christmas.  I know there’s a lot of stress, too many people in a store and all that.  But people are just straight rude sometimes.  For instance, my mother-in-law and I were shopping in Walmart.  We had my two kids.  We came to a spot where a support beam was blocking our side of the aisle.  My MIL said, “Excuse me.”  The lady who was standing on the other side nearly pushed her over and spat some nasty remark.  We were shocked.  Especially since said woman had two kids in her own cart.  Geesh.  Nice manners you’re teaching!!

Here’s another thing that annoys me a bit: line cutters and people who can’t read signs (or just figure they’re way more important than whatever the sign says.)  A friend of mine shot this picture a few weeks ago (again at Walmart… am I noticing a trend???)  She posted it in Facebook for her ‘revenge.’  I’m posting it here to further her quest for justice.  (grin)

I WILL say that since I moved back to the Midwest it seems I run in to fewer nasty, road-raging drivers; fewer glaring, center-of-the-Earth teens; fewer line butters and the like.  I am proud to be from a part of the country where we are holding on to values for (at least) a little while longer.

Since I’m always mindful that I have very young children (just three and one), I wanted to find something to share with you all that I will continue to reference as well.   It’s an age-by-age guide for raising well-mannered children.   We’re in a village people, let’s all help raise our children with manners.  (I’ll be working hard to keep mine in line!!)

 

 **Leslie’s View**

I started watching the video mentioned above (where kids are laughing at a particular woman on a bus).  I stopped after about 5 seconds.  It was appalling.

I couldn’t link the video on our site.  I can’t possibly give those horrible kids any more glory.

I know there are rude people in the world.  I know at times I’ve been one of them.  I think we all have.

But what I saw in that video upset me.  Greatly.

I don’t want my children to be in a world with these people.  But they will.  So here’s a few things Kyle and I are trying to teach them.

1.  Smile, smile and smile some more.  You never know what kind of day a person is having; you never know what a smile will do for them.  The lady at the grocery store who almost knocks you down with her cart, the guy who cuts you off in traffic.  Give them a smile.  Even if it’s tough.

2.  Say thank you and write thank you notes!  My parents made me do this at such a young age.  It’s hard today with technology to take 5 minutes and hand write a thank you card.  But I know it is  appreciated by everyone who receives them!

3.  Understand we are all different and respect those differences.  I’m trying so hard to teach Ella (my 4 year old) this.  It’s actually going to be my column for this week.  She made fun of a boy in her daycare for wearing glasses.  When I asked her why she did this she said, “Mama, only girls are supposed to wear glasses.”  I’m the only person she’s every really noticed wearing glasses so of course she didn’t understand.  I think that’s the biggest problem, simply not understanding.

4.  Lastly, I’ve been teaching my girls to give the friendly farmer wave when passing a car.  We have a bit of a drive to pick up our girls from daycare (it’s outside city limits) so we always run into a farmer in a tractor or pick-up.  Usually once a week I’ll get the friendly farmer 1 or 2 fingers wave.  It makes my day.  Granted, if you’ve never seen it, you may interpret the friendly farmer wave as the finger.  That could bring up a whole other set of anger issues.

I leave you with one of my favorite nice guys from childhood.  Maybe we should think of Mr. Rodgers when we’re mad?  Who can stay mad when you think of Mr. Rodgers?  I think I need to pull up these old episodes so my girls can watch.

What about you?  What do you think of today’s society?  Are the kids getting out of control or is it just amplified by all the technology that allows us to see it happening?  How do you teach your kids/grand kids about respect and kindness for others?

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3 Comments

  1. Kathy at kissing the frog
    August 16, 2012

    Oooo, I could rant about this susbject forever, but I’ll try to be brief. We lived on Long Island for two years, and I have never encountered more acts of PURE RUDENESS in my life. Flat-out, your mouth drops open at the audacity of people. I could not wait to get back to Nebraska where people greet you, hold the door open for you, speak nicely to your children..

    That said, there are rude people everywhere, and it’s sad. I refuse to shop on Black Friday because the one time I did, I was appalled at the crabby, rude behavior of people. Another thing that REALLY bothers me is that people have forgotten two very basic words – Excuse me. Since I have four children, we are often in the way. I try to teach my boys to stand off to the side, but when we are blocking someone’s way, like at the grocery store, I can’t believe how many people just stand there and roll their eyes and sigh loudly waiting for us to notice that they are there.

    I can look at some of the sweetest kids I know and inevitably, their parents are super nice people, too. Some of the rudest and meanest, their parents don’t really care how they act in front of their children.

    Reply
    • August 16, 2012

      I could go on forever too Kathy. It’s amazing how self absorbed people are anymore. SO thankful to be living in the midwest. :-)

      Reply
  2. August 16, 2012

    That people in our country are appalled by this type of behavior bodes well. I know our manners have taken a nosedive in some areas and in some cases, but a few years ago, when we had the privilege of hosting a German exchange student, she was continually amazed at how polite Americans were.

    So there’s hope. We just need to be vigilant, and articles like this can make all the difference because each of us who reads it will do a better job of monitoring our and our children’s behavior!!

    Reply

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