Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Have A Question...

What on earth has happened to our children's manners these days? I am just stunned at the lack of drive and determination that seems to be plaguing young adults these days. What are we doing, as a society, to create such an air of acceptance of disrespect?

As a parent, I have been very diligent in assuring that MY children treat others, especially other adults, with nothing but respect. When we go out to eat, my children say thank you at the end of the evening. I can't always afford to take them out, but sometimes I am just too tired to cook so we go out and splurge. I don't mind doing it because I know that my children are grateful and do not take that little "treat" for granted, and it is never held as an expectation by them.

I have been repeatedly appalled at the lack of gratitude I have seen coming from other's children. It seems, to me, that they have this notion that it is DUE to them, that we owe them for something. It is truly mind-boggling for me to see this.

It has also become very apparent that they do not feel that they need to EARN the things they want. I know of many young ladies, and gentlemen, who are still living at home, getting all of their needs met, doing whatever they want, all day long and never say or do a thing to show appreciation. I do not understand this. My daughter is 17 years old, has consistently held a job and was required to purchase her own vehicle. I co-signed for her, but she is the one making the payments and paying her insurance. If a payment is missed, the vehicle is gone, and she knows this. My 12 year old son knows that the PS-2 is off limits until certain chores and homework is done. There is no argument, no negotiation. I have had to work and pay my own way for as long as I can remember, and although it would be nice to be able to just give my children everything they want, on demand, it will never happen.

I have a very strong work ethic and have learned, the hard way, to not take anything in my life for granted. I have earned everything that I have and I want my kids to do the same. Now I am not saying that I don't help them with things, or that I am a slave driver....what I am saying is that for me, it is important that my children have a strong work ethic and learn appreciation. I believe that it is essential for their future, because regardless of how I feel about it, someday I will not be around and they will be forced to do it themselves.

Also, my 12 year old son, Matthew, knows that if he is seated and an older woman comes into the room and there are no more chairs...he knows he needs to get up and offer her his seat. It is not just for "grandma" types, but any adult woman. It is polite, it is respectful and it's the right thing to do. My daughter does the same thing. I do it, too. I lead by example, and again, I believe in that. I do not ask things of my children that I, myself, am not willing to do.

Our children are our future. Yes they need to be educated, they need to learn to question, they need to be able follow, and they need to learn to lead. It is all accomplished with respect...for themselves as well as others. "Treat others as you wish to be treated" is always being said in my home. We all have bad days, we all raise our voices and say things that never should have been said. How many of us apologize??? I do, all the time. I constantly make mistakes, but I own them and if things that I do, or say, hurts anyone, I apologize. I apologize because I love and respect them. How can we ask our children to respect us, if we don't show them respect? I don't care how old a child is, I will apologize if I have wronged them. I do that for all 4 of my kids, and anyone else who is a part of my life, from other family members to co-workers. It's just the way it is.

My child hood was not perfect and neither were my parents. They did the best they could and things that I did not like about their parenting, I have changed for my own parenting. I am far from a perfect parent, but I believe that my parents, who are almost 40 years my senior, instilled some wonderful values into my childhood. My father has always been a true believer in respecting everyone and that has become a huge part of me. Asking a father's permission to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage, opening doors (cars or buildings), saying "Thank you" with sincerity, appreciating the tiniest gesture of kindness, the ability to say "I'm sorry", courage to ask for help, "your word is all you have", repaying your debts, helping out "just because you can", all of these things, and more, that seem to come from a whole different era. They are good things. They seem to have gotten lost somewhere and it would be so nice to see them return.




Amen to everything you said. My son is six years old and I know this is the time that habits will harden and values will be absorbed. I am blessed that he spends so much of his time in my mother's company where he learns so much.

I get really upset when I see parents not even making an effort to correct their children's behavior. On this one thing, I'm seriously old-fashioned and agree 100% with everything you say.

Cathy said...

My only wish would be that more parents had the same values as you. I don't have children, but can still see their attitudes and impoliteness everywhere I go. It's very sad. My parents brought me up with all the correct values I continue to use in my adult life today and I am grateful to them for that. Keep up the good work.


Charlie Wolfe said...

Thank you both, so much, for reinforcing my thoughts. Things are getting crazy and it's people like us, few that we may be, that may be able to help facilitate change. Thanks again!

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

I completely agree! The lack of gratefulness has to be on of my biggest struggles with children (right up there with lack of respect). We had to do a boot camp thing in our home when I noticed the "you owe me" mentality creeping in. We went for weeks were they received NO choices for anything. Then, slowly, introduced choices back in that they were very grateful for. Every once in a while we have to go back down that road again.

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