Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grinching again

Let me be clear at the outset: Mannerly, creative, intelligent, thoughtful kids I love. I delight in their company, in listening to them read, observing their play and helping them to make fascinating discoveries about their world.

But the other type -- the nose-picking, sarcastic, clueless, perpetually whiney kind -- these should neither be seen nor heard. I know every good kid has his or Her occassional bad days or meltdowns but some seem to have cultivated the fine art of being horrible until they are masters of it.

I went to a Christmas performance today at one of our local schools. I went specifically to cheer on a mannerly, creative, intelligent, thoughtful kid who was in the play.

Beside me sat a squirmy little brat who repeatedly nudged me with his dirty sneakers, made obnoxious and quite audible comments about his dislike of the play and came quite close to jabbing me in the face with a spyglass that he made out of his program.

A hug from a loving child is a blessing from heaven. A poke from a pestilent child is simply annoying. And I became aware today, thinking back to all the time I spend at that school, in my job capacity and as a volunteer, just how many of these kids communicate with me by poking and jabbing -- and how they do it to each other, too.

Adults, except for the occassional freak, respect each other's space. If we must make bodily contact with a stranger, say, on a crowded bus or in passing by someone in the theater,we do it with an apologetic and determined stiffness that communicates our apologies for the indignity. Kids, at least the poorly trained ones, think nothing of banging, bumping and sometimes even stepping on the toes of others around them.

Perhaps it has always been this way and the epidemic of pathetic parenting whose fruits I seem to see everywhere, is but a figment of my imagination.


Janice Thomson said...

It is not a figment of your imagination. Children nowadays are not taught respect for people or things. They are not taught manners either because that would be interfering with their right to express themselves which seems so prevalent among today's parents. Yes, I get that a child needs to express himself but if it is not with respect towards another, with love and care of other humans/animals/things, what will he grow up to be like? And this is the future of the world? It saddens me to think this will be true.
A child is not born disrespectful. He is taught that by his environment.

Ela (braveheart) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ela (braveheart) said...

I deleted my comment, because it is not helpful in any way, it just adds more grinchiness.

feel better soon!

eastcoastdweller said...

Dear Ela, I would love for You to put Your comment back, if possible, for I don't think it added to grinchiness. Rather, Your sympathizing with me helped me to feel better.

I am no longer feeling grinchy, not at all.

eastcoastdweller said...

Janice, thank You for Your insightful comments.

There is a term I have heard for the unfortunate children who are thusly raised: lightly-parented.

Ela (braveheart) said...

thank you! ( I would love to know another name to call you).
I am indecisive, I call it my DNA faultage:). I comment and then I rethink and rethink until my head hurts.
I'll try not to delete next time, but at least I know you always have a chance to read it.

Rebecca said...

Well, I am the mom of a 11.5 year old critter. He is pretty well behaved when he is out in the world, due to constant tutelage on the subject. But I have to say, one of my chief complaints in trying to raise a well mannered child is that so many adults, young adults, middle aged adults and older adults are just plain rude themselves. They don't have any more respect for each other than a typical bratty kid. THEN they have the nerve to be scandalized by a less than polite child. Where are the examples? I know this in no way applies to you, ECD, just the ranting of a person who remembers when adults were great models of the behaviors they expected of children.

eastcoastdweller said...

So true, Rebecca: what chance does a child have when proper role models are few and far between, when he or She is expected to be respectful of adults who do not respect him or Her or each other?

Leslie said...

It is fruits, not figments you perceive...