Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nice matters?

I’ve been very kindly given another award, the ‘nice matters’ award, from Laurie over at Just One Sheep. She outed herself in my comments as otherwise she’s known by the very scary moniker ‘Threat Assessment and Response Canada’ which is a Toronto crime blog that I wish existed here in my area. It’s quite un-nerving reading but also riveting, even for an ex-Torontonian like myself.

Nice does matter, of course however I do worry that this is never going to sink into the small hard ball of matter that is the Spud’s head. He greeted our friends’ nine-month-old girl with several large taps to her head and followed up by a serial stealing of her toys yesterday; and, while he appears to realise that ‘no’ means Mummy is upset (but heck, who only knows why?), for the most part he is yet to connect the word and gesture with the concept ‘oops, better stop fiddling with the cat food’. Hence, he is still menacing the cat, the cat’s food and any electronic item unfortunate enough to exist within the same square mile. This, despite copious uses of the word ‘no’, the gesture for ‘no’ and all sorts of other new-parenting-type alternatives such as exclaiming ‘but Sammy will go hungry. Why don’t you play with this?' {moves Spud to other room, offers wholesome wooden toy, is spurned and spends rest of afternoon fishing Spud’s fingers out of the cat’s bowl}.

It’s a worry. One spends one’s time trying to be a reasonably decent human being despite one’s rampaging inner urges and finally, having made it through cough cough forty cough odd cough years one pushes out a new human who has NO idea what it can possibly mean to be polite or nice or to share his toys. Back when I were a young ‘un (any sentence referring to one’s youth has to be said in a Northern accent… blame Monty Python) society as a whole was fairly polite and after some serious mind washing instruction from my parents it was easy to play along as there were examples of good manners all around. Now, however, it seems as though it will be impossible to teach the spud any sort of manners when there are grown adults in the playground (as there were yesterday) who themselves are sitting on the playthings and not getting off even when a circle of babies has formed around them crying and reaching out their arms. OK, so I exaggerate but I don’t see how that Mum yesterday could have sat for so long on the motorbike rocking toy with all those little boys around her watching hopefully while her own daughter ran up the slide pushing other kids out of her way and kicking them on her way down. I’m sorry but some people are appalling and, with those sorts of examples, it’s no wonder the spud can’t understand why manners are so important. Oh, that and he’s er, only one year old… but you get my drift.

It’s quite a wake-up call watching the behaviour of some people in the playground. While most parents smile at each other and at least give the pretence that they are teaching their children sharing and caring, there are some who are actively in there encouraging their little ones to be first, to be fastest, to stay on longest. These children then spend their time wrecking the park for all the other children, who then have to act in the same dreadful way just to get a trip down the slide. They then go on to menace others - and so on and so on until 20 years later they're pushing each other to get on the tube first and everyone's miserable.

Nice should matter to everyone, I guess. Another martini, bartender - and one for yourself.

16 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

My Gawd! You've just summed up the root cause of all nastiness in today's society in one post! How do you do that?

DJ Kirkby said...

P.S. The 'Novel with no name' is only 7 short posts long so far...

jenny said...

Yeah, what you said!!

This is the reason why we are home schooling. Not the only reason, mind you, but one of them anyway. People are so rude and thoughtless these days and of course the kids see and follow like mindless minions. More than once I have seen the surprised looks on people's faces when my girls say "thank you" and "please". Tsk! Wish there were some sort of wake-up call for those rude parents.

Lindystar the HOR blogger said...

Ya know I was just going to try and solve your cat food problem by suggesting that you buy the spud a whole bunch of tiny plastic peices ie beads or something and let him play with those so maybe he'd stay away from the cats food.

Right. See? I can't have children I was just about to suggest that you try and choke the kid. Or make for one glittery fancy small intestine.

Gaaahhhh, but anyways - The spud will have GREAT manners someday because you actually CARE enough to think about it. And hell he can't even talk yet! S'all good :)

Frog in the Field said...

I hate bad manners, I'm fanatical about them.
It doesn't matter how rich you are, how clever you are or how famous, if you don't have good manners, people won't like you and won't want to be in your company.

cara said...

this is a huge gripe of ours too. our little guy and the rest of our children will have manners and be taught right from wrong - it's a hard job being a parent isn't it?

PJ Lore said...

Me? I would have had to have asked the woman if she was having a good time being a bully. Although I probably also would have said it in baby-talk...such as "is diddums having trouble fitting her big ass on the itty-bitty baby toy?" or "is diddums finally getting a chance to be the bully on the playground?"
I tend to be blunt about such craziness as when parents are bullies and teach their children to be bullies.

Briget said...

THIS, dear girl, is why I left teaching (kindergarten). It only worked when the parents backed us up.

BOSSY said...

Bossy will take her martini with two olives.

Suki said...

I agree. You've got it, lady! And finally it gets through this thick head of mine that you're more than just an affectionate, funny and sensible Mommy blogger. So you get to my blogroll... soon.

When I was a kid, Mom taught me good manners. I unlearned most of them recently, following my granddad's ethic of "fend for yourself". I still try to wait my turn, but when things turn into a screaming match you won't find me being trodden on. Where do you reach the balance, I wonder?

And yet again, I mourn.. where did respect go? Let alone respect for others, even self-respect is absent!

Hoto said...

Ooof. This was a bit Grumpy-Old-Man-ish.

Fist shaking, jowls quivering, bingo wings flapping.

'...Honestly'. '...And another thing'. '...I'm normally not one to complain'. '...Times like these'. '..People should know their place'.

Stay at home dad said...

Don't get me started. By the end of every playground trip my daughter has to drag me out before I pick a fight with someone smaller or larger than me...

rachele said...

We are just entering these realms. Kai is petting the heads of other babies at book group and breastfeeding support group and now that he's mobile I'm determined to keep him nice, but how? It seems he's always one step ahead... But nice definitely does matter. Congrats on your award!

Elsie Button said...

that is unbelieveable! what a silly cow!

by the way, charlie will grow up to have manners and be nice, without a doubt.

Threat Assessment & Response Canada said...

A serial stealer! *gasp* Oh, no! haha!

And yes, it's pretty tough to teach a child things when the adults around don't seem to know any better, either.

I wonder how many of them are just too darned tired. Not that that is an excuse...

I didn't know you were cough cough years old. Where do you get your energy?! I want some of whatever vitamins you are taking.

Oh, and thanks for the mention, eh. :)

Sparx said...

Oooh, so annoying. I replied to everyone's comments but didn't save them until the next day - and today they're gone.

Please assume I've responded to you all in person! I have so little time at the moment I can't do it again.

Glad to hear so many are with me (and Hoto, I was merely channelling you, you know!) and feel the same way. Cheers everyone.