I remember, he was in the the fourth grade and was nine years old. The public school system in Geneva, Illinois offered evening etiquette classes and my parents registered my brother. For five evenings, he went to one of the local schools and learned how to sit at a table, which fork to use, how to dance. All families were invited the last evening to see the lessons that they’d learned.
I remember seeing my older brother that evening, dressed up, white gloves on. He pulled out the dining chair for the young lady next to him. He then stood up from the table, helped that same girl up to stand with his gloved hand, and led her to the dance floor. It was like watching a fairy tale. But it wasn’t a fairy tale, it was real life, and it was training him to be the gentleman he is today.
While we were pretty rough and tumble kids, having bruises and scabs and saying the occasional curse word (usually while playing neighborhood kick ball:)), my parents taught us to be respectful of ourselves and others, to hold a door when you can, and to say excuse me when warranted.
I know that when my girls have their friends over, they are some of the most kind, most polite kids I have ever met.
I am thinking they could give us adults some lessons on how to behave right now.
How about we all work together to just lay some ground rules?
No more name calling – Whomever you are voting for, it is not acceptable to name-call. We have been taught this since we were little. Let’s go back to that. Calling a candidate a “heifer” or a “pimp” won’t change anyone’s mind. Let’s accept that, have some respect for ourselves and each other, and move on.
Let’s be decent with each other – Let’s remember, we are not the candidates we are voting for. It’s not okay to call someone ‘deplorable’. It’s also not okay to make fun of a disabled reporter or grab women’s genitals. Just because they said or did those things, we should not let them set the example. Let’s remember what a proper society is comprised of – people who respect each other and teach their children the same.
Let’s listen to each other – Has someone ever just yelled their opinion at you? Or you felt, even though they weren’t actually yelling, that they were yelling their opinion at you? Like you couldn’t get a word in edge-wise? It can be tough to take that in. I know by now we are all pretty steadfast in our beliefs. I know you feel strongly. I feel strongly, too, and I’ll tell you with passion why I feel that way. And then I will use that same passion, that same energy, to listen to you. I want to know your opinion, I want to know what you feel strongly about. And you may change my mind.
Let’s be informed and educated about what we cite in our decisions – I can make reference to HardcoreDemocrats.com and you can cite TeaPartyExtreme.org all day long. Maybe we should all check CNN, BBC, and FoxNews so we can know what all of the facts and opinions are.
Earlier in the week, my daughter told me that one of her closest friends had a little brother whose upcoming birthday party was going to be at the local trampoline park. This friend was allowed to invite one friend and she was trying to decide who to invite. My daughter and I discussed it, I could tell she wanted to be the one invited. I could see her working it out in her head. She then said, “…I know Elyse hasn’t been to the trampoline park yet, though.” With that she got up, picked up her iPad, and walked to her room.
I admit right now, I read my daughter’s texting threads. I think you should, too (one of the things I feel passionate about). I’m all for privacy, but as I have heard, having privacy on the internet is like asking for privacy at a baseball stadium. I digress… Anyway, she knows once a week, I take a look at her iPad to make sure we are all on the up-and-up. Two days after the birthday party conversation, I see a message my girl sent to this same friend. My daughter wrote, “…I know it’s hard to pick just one person. Even if you don’t pick me, I will always be your friend.” The next bubble from this same friend, said, “…that is just what I needed to hear.”
Decency. Compassion. Trying to feel where the other person is coming from. When we have those things in our corner, then there is no need to name call. There is no need to yell and not listen to each other. We can state our educated and informed case to each other, make peace and move on. And say to each other, no matter what happens, no matter who wins, I listened to you and I respect your opinion.
It is just what I needed to hear.