There is a story in my family about me refusing to say "Thank you" to my Uncle Jim. I was about 3 and it was 1975 so Uncle Jim had a lot of hair. I remember being scared of him and all his hair. My dad was not taking "NO" for answer so the showdown began. I don't remember how it ended but I do know that for my parents saying "Thank you" was a huge deal.
We had an incident last night which made me realize that manners are not what they should be. Our neighbor was giving all the kids rides in the back of wagon attached to a tractor. First of all, I saw that on "Dateline" and it's not safe. I didn't want to be the uncool mom so I let the girls go. When ride time was over I helped the girls out of the wagon and said "What do you need to tell Mr. Brian?" Amelia and Greta both went over and said "Thank you Mr Brian!" I swear to you at that moment all my neighbors looked at me like I was from Mars. Not one other kid was prompted to say thank you. There was dead silence.
One of my biggest pet peeves is rude kids. Now I understand kids are kids and will always forget the politeness we try to engrave in their brains. What I am talking about is kids who never say "please" or "thank you". Or worse to me is the kids who's parents don't teach it. If I give a neighbor kid a juice box and he/she is older than 3, I expect a "thank you" (and a Mrs Last Name, but more on that later) I do expect said child to forget to say "thank you" and that is when I expect Mom/Dad to say "What do you say Junior?" What sends me over the edge is when parents don't prompt or correct their kids. Is that asking too much?
And on the subject of politeness. . .I expect to be called Mrs Last Name. (Or Mrs Jen or Mrs Amelia's Mommy are also fine) I was discussing this with a friend of mine who doesn't quite agree. She was trying to figure out why it bothered me so much. After thinking on it, I have come up with one reason. I am my mother. This was something my own mom was big on and it is ingrained in me. Deeper into it, I am bothered by the fact that the line between kid and grown-up is so blurred. I am a grown-up and kids are not. Adults are to be respected just simply because they are adults. My girls are not allowed to call an adult by a first name. Ever. Period. It is Mr or Mrs First Name if they are little and Caroline now says Mr or Mrs Last Name. Only exceptions are very close family friends who are "Aunt" and "Uncle" and our pastors at church who are "Pastor Kris" and "Pastor Drew". I have had other adults say "Oh no. She can call me Mary" While I respect another person's right to be called what they wish, I am trying SO hard to teach this that it frustrating. Sure, I feel weird when someone calls me by what I consider my mother-in-law's name, it is important to me that kids learn that grown-ups still run the world.
OK, stepping off my soapbox. . .Thank you for listening.