Thursday, October 6, 2011

Excuse Me, You Seem To Have Lost Your Manners...

Okay, everyone...I'm going to admit to you right up front that I shall we say it...a bit PERTURBED! I heard something earlier in the week and I can't seem to let it go. Before I head full on into what's on my mind, let me give you a little background. I am a Texan. In Texas, we have always done things a little differently than other folks. The advertising slogan for tourism in Texas is this: 'Texas...It's a whole 'nother country.' See? Texans think nothing of creating new words when the ones everyone else uses just don't apply to our particular situation. I love that about Texas. You know what else I've always been proud of about Texas? We are notoriously nicer than other people. It's true. I'm sure you can look that up somewhere to confirm what I'm saying, though I don't have any idea where that might be. How about you just take my word for it.

Anyway, I live in a little rural town outside of Houston. I'm not from here, mind you...I just live here. Yes, that does make a difference. Football and athletics and school spirit are a big deal around here. So is pride in our community. So is hunting and fishing and all kinds of other manly stuff like that. I'll admit it was a little bit of an adjustment moving here after living on the east coast for so many years. Okay, so it was a BIG adjustment but I absolutely love it here now and can't imagine raising my kids anywhere else. One reason I love it? People openly pray and talk about God around here and aren't concerned about possibly offending someone while doing so. People actually know each other and look after their neighbors. And last but not least...people here have GOOD MANNERS!!!

Our children address adults with respect. They say 'Yes, ma'am' and 'No, sir.' They do not refer to adults by their given name. It's 'Miss Susie' or 'Mr. Sam.' They are taught to be polite and respectful in school. I love that because it lines up perfectly with what I am trying to instill in them at home: To be kind and generous people of integrity. To be good Christians and good citizens. To do unto others as they would have others do unto them. To be mindful of the needs of others. Is everyone perfect around here? No, of course not but at least we are trying. I feel like I have a better chance of teaching them those values here than probably anywhere else.

So, imagine my surprise and utter astonishment when the other day, I heard a woman (who I barely know) say this: "I have just about had it with the way the schools around here are trying to indoctrinate our kids to have perfect manners and be polite little robots." I'm sorry, but WHAT in the H-E-double hockey sticks is that supposed to mean?! Ya'll, I was steaming. I was speechless. And you know I'm never speechless! I had to turn around and walk away without saying anything and I'm sure she thought I was incredibly rude but I can assure you she would have really thought I was rude if I had stayed there for another second. Wow. I hope she doesn't read this blog but then on the other hand...I kind of hope she does! :0)

This is my opinion which I know is completely right no matter what anyone else says. (Ha!) What our country needs now more than ever is to teach common courtesy and manners to ALL of our children. We have become a nation of impatient, self-centered, over-indulged, and thoughtless citizens who think nothing of cutting off, interrupting and pushing around others in order to do or say whatever we want. Yeah, I said it. I said it because it happens to be true. In our childish determination to prove that we are FREE, we have let the pendulum swing way over into the land of the rude and the home of the intolerant. Does it make you mad to hear me say that? Good. We should all be mad at ourselves for allowing things to get to this point. Enough already.

Hear me out. Life was not handed to me on a silver platter. I have had to struggle and fight and pray my way through some extremely difficult times to get where I am today. You want to know the real reason why I have gotten so many good breaks and met so many great people who have helped me along the way? What's my secret? Here it is: I try to live as Jesus commanded. I'm nice. I have good manners. I treat people with respect and dignity. I care about them and take time to get to know them for no other reason than I am actually interested in who they are. That's it. That's my secret to success. JUST. BE. NICE. It takes very little effort and the rewards are huge. Am I perfect? Of course not but at least I'm trying.

I know most of you already know this and practice good manners and courtesy. I know there are many other places all over the country where parents and teachers are concerned about values. It just really burns me up when I see parents being rude and disrespectful to their own children and then turn around and demand respect from them in return. That is an exercise in futility. It makes me so sad to see parents wasting the only opportunity they will ever have to teach their children in the way they should go. It baffles me why people choose to be ugly and nasty when it takes way less energy and feels so much better to just be kind. I don't get that and I never will.

So, what do I have to say to the lady who made that obnoxious remark the other day? Let me try to use my good manners..."Excuse me, Lady... Please stop being ridiculous and be grateful that your children have a shot at becoming nice people simply because others have the knowledge and the foresight to teach them what you obviously have not. Thank you and have a nice day."

Okay...I think I'm done here. Whew! I feel much better now. Thanks for listening.



  1. Precisely! You go girl! My sentiments exactly! Amen! and a whole lot of other thoughts come to mind. :)

  2. Preach it sister. I live my life the same way and work really hard to make my kids be polite. In fact, I know people like my children because of their polite manners.

    I am so fed up with rudeness in this world and this lady is a prime example of the problem. Nobody thinks being polite is necessary anymore.

    I try to live the same command, Jesus said to do unto others as I would have done unto me.

  3. Wow...I'm offended JUST KIDDING!!!! If the schools of America (not necessarily all Texas schools) were just trying to "indoctrinate" our kids with some manners I'd say Get it!!!!!
    For the most part we are indoctrinating them to believe that actions have no consequences and that is far, far more dangerous for society as a whole but I have a solution...send all the kids in America for a three week "camp" in east Texas and one rule, No outside contact. My bet is that parents will be amazed at how respectful their children have become in just 3 weeks. ;)
    The only thing we should be intolerant of is intolerance.
    Great post...I like it when you're perturbed.

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  5. Cyndi- I know your son has excellent manners and him being in scouts is such a great way to reinforce that!

    Keven-You cracked me up with that one. I don't like being perturbed. But I do like writing about it when I am! It helps to get my feelings out. Thanks.

    Julie-I'm with you. It's not like people will come up to you and say, 'I just wanted to say that your child is seriously bratty and disruptive but I'm sure that in no way reflects on your parenting.' Of course they don't! People enjoy being around kids with good manners! Bravo to you!

    Pam-I was just messin' with everyone about the whole Texas thing. I know there are a lot of great people all over the country who are committed to raising and teaching this generation of kids how to act right! I salute you. I could NOT do what you do. No way.


  6. Hi Catherine,

    I am writing from Europe - Italy and I can tell you, great that you and the school are still teaching respect, to treat the next in a respectful way.

    A part from some private (through parents) initiative these education principles are going to vanish here...

    May be in some years people will re-discover these value as something totally new.


  7. I am all for respect, I love being complimented on how sweet and nice my children are b/c I have taught them to say, Please, Thank you, speak when you are spoken to. Especially in school, they have to respect their elders within reason.
    No matter how many times I go to my good friends house and she tells my kids yes my house is yours, open the fridge take what you want,I would be so upset if they didn't ask me first then her. It's just a sign of respect and they always compliment me on how well mannered they are, I'm glad they notice.
    I will not stop this and hope they to continue this life lesson.


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