Monday, September 8, 2014

Sorry luv, too busy lookin' at mah smartphone to teach you good manners...

Excuse me, is this where I queue for a part in "Bod: The Movie" ?

It was one of those stupid things that's so insignificant and everyday but underlined one of the things that's guaranteed to press all my buttons in no time at all. 

Politeness. Manners. Words that, to the average six year old, are just words and have no basis or foundation in their lives. I always wondered whether me being a constant grump was just some genetic predisposition for being like my dad's side of the family (notably grumpy to a tee) or something more deeply rooted in what's going on in the world as a whole. 

The incident that triggered this missive was so low-impact that most parents will probably scoff, snorting "If that's the only type of problem you have in a playground, then you're lucky matey!" But it was merely this. Charlotte patiently waiting for her turn to go on a Playground ride (a zip wire). Two boys butting in, trying to shove her out of the way so they could go first (in fact one of the boys - probably no older than three or four years old, nearly clocked the thing right in the face because he insisted on running after her - even at the point where the zip wire contraption rebounded at the end of the run and nearly took his head off). 

We've always taught Charlotte to take it in turns, to queue, and to be polite - and she does this without question. But she's a sensitive soul like us, so when the two boys were trying to push and shove her aside, her natural instinct was to just let them get on with it. It took me wading in, and another thoughtful parent (who also saw what was going on - and headed it off by physically 'handing' the zipwire contraption to Charlotte rather than one of the rude little boys) to get the message across. At any given moment though we expected an angry parent to look up from their smartphone for the split second it would've taken them to murmur in a tired voice "Don't do that Gaston! Don't do that Renfrew!" or more likely, to come over and shout in a horrid mockney accent "Whatchafinkyoredoinktomykidddddaaaah". 

Queuing is just one of those things that us 'british' are supposedly so up our own butts about that the rest of the world finds it comically quaint. Half an hour at any Disney resort, or in fact any resort anywhere in the world will probably highlight just how low down everyone's list of 'basic human behaviours that won't result in you ending up in a fist fight' queuing is. Like an errant Marty McFly though, I can't stand queue jumpers of any description (kids or otherwise) so it was one of those instances where I was glad of some parental intervention from someone else who obviously didn't tolerate it either. 

"They don't teach manners or politeness in schools any more" is the sort of ridiculous newspaper missive you'd expect to read on something like this. Why the hell should they, what's wrong with parents know...parenting? We managed it so why the heck can't anyone else?

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