We’re Taking Bad Manners to a Whole New Level

Remember when we used to think that it was rude if someone didn’t RSVP to a party but showed up anyway?

Maybe more of an etiquette issue, but remember when your grandmother was aghast in the 1990s when people started wearing jeans to church on Sundays?

How about a few years ago when speaking on your cell phone in a public place became the modern tale of “bad manners”? Ha! Now, that’s just common practice.

Guys spitting a foot from their wife’s pretty shoes… someone belching grossly out loud in a restaurant… walking or reaching in front of someone’s face without saying, “excuse me”…. These regular habits of many people make the manners of the “old days” look silly:

 It’s interesting how we become indifferent…how we slowly just accept the erosion and near entire demise of etiquette and decent manners as time progresses.

While those issues I named above are a little funny now, recently I’ve experienced bad manners on a whole new level.

We recently threw the biggest party (the only “big” party) we’ve ever thrown in our lives. Invitations were sent, RSVPs were required and it was held at a nice place. I was shocked that more than one “Mom and Dad” adult couple who were invited and said two were attending, showed up with their multiple kids and their boyfriends and girlfriends?!

They filled entire tables – those that we did not have prepared, nor paid for, nor counted on for food.

How about we wait for the 14-yr olds to be engaged before springing their significant others upon paid-for parties?

That I got over quickly…hey, they were coming to celebrate with us. But a few others are just stunning lately…

I was at Sears returning something from LandsEnd and I waited in line about five minutes. The entire time I stood there, I found it strange that the sales clerk was chatting away while the customer at the counter didn’t say a word.

As I approached the counter for my turn, the clerk smiled at me and asked if I finished my bagel with cream cheese. My face contorted and I laughed, saying, “I wasn’t eating a bagel”. Without a beat she said, “Finish what you’re doing and get over here to visit me”.

Huh? My eyes narrowed in on her as she fumbled with receipts, clearly distracted by her phone which was propped up on the register because she was face-timing someone! Just as I was about to say something, the manager walked over, not knowing about the face timing, but that clerk slammed her phone down so hard, she might have (hopefully) broke it.

My shock and awe at the rudeness of doing something like that where you work and serve customers was quickly followed by a similar situation.

As I was standing at a counter waiting for service and speaking to the 40-something woman helping me, her personal phone rang and she answered it. Surprising, but maybe she had a sick child at home. She began talking and no kidding, reached underneath the counter, pulled out ear buds, put them in her ears and continued talking. Slowly and utterly distracted, she attempted to continue helping me – without speaking to me – which obviously she could not do while chatting on the phone.

If this was the doctor calling about a child’s fever, of course, answer the phone! These were literally mindless conversations that I stood for only in seconds because I’m not someone who endures crappy (sorry for the nasty word) service quietly.

My last straw actually made me laugh out loud. I run a fairly engaging classroom environment in my college classes and expect everyone to talk and respond throughout any session I teach. It’s never a straight lecture. As a result, you can’t sit in the back of the room and text your friends in my classes without someone noticing.

I had a male student in his 30’s tell me that he “couldn’t” put his phone away when I asked him to during class because he was “addicted” to Facebook and had to check his feed constantly! He was somewhat serious and yet was making a failing attempt at charming me to allow phone use in my class. I laughed out loud, pointed to the door and said he could check his feed all day long out of my classroom, but not in it.

I foolishly expect decent manners and the audacity of poor manners, particularly when the person is in a customer service position, feels both disheartening for society at large and infuriating to me personally.

Teenage Privacy…Is it OK to spy on your teens’ texts? Internet history? Surf their social media? Yep!

Is it okay to look through your kids’ bedroom drawers?
Read their texts?
Surf their internet history?

When my children first began high school, I had more interest and opportunity to do all of those things. They were still figuring out what was acceptable and what wasn’t. I was extremely attentive. I certainly didn’t check their computer histories, texts or drawers on a regular basis, but when I thought about it, or when something seemed suspicious, I certainly had no problem checking on all of it.

No, I didn’t feel bad about that at all! I didn’t feel as though I was invading their privacy and frankly, I thought of myself as far more responsible than those who refuse to check on their kids and live by the philosophy, “Kids are going to do what they are going to do”. Now that my twins are 19, I believe that is true. When they were only 13, there was still plenty of room and time to steer their moral ship.

If you’ve read much of my writing, you know I lean toward the “serious” in life and tend to way overthink anything related to raising kids. Surprisingly, this isn’t an issue I feel is too deep. I don’t believe for a second that there is any long-term damage done to a child whose Mom cares enough to peek in on their social media.

On the lighter side of this issue, I can’t help but think…

I’ve given up privacy for 19 years.

Just recently over Christmas break when my twins were home from college, I sat down on the toilet and sure enough, in two seconds there was a knock at the door followed by, “Mom?!”
Seriously? The boy just watched me walk in here!?

When I’m in the shower, there are still occasional knocks on the door by three grown teenagers. “Mom!! Do you know where the stapler went?”

My kids pick up my phone all the time.
They flip through my texts, look at my photos and check my email.
Not because they are “checking” on me. Really, they are just sitting at the counter. And, instead of just sitting—at—the—counter, they’ll pick up my phone. I don’t mind. I do however, around Christmas and birthdays, give fair warning that their gifts might be in the photos or email.

On a more serious note, in this very depraved society, for children that might be being bullied or sexually harassed or worse, isn’t it better to surf a few things out to see that everything is okay and they are not holding back something that could eventually harm them?