Common courtesy is an ox and a moron
This weekend, the Clark family was on display. We were the only family in the HUGE restaurant with more than 4 children at their table. We were the only family at my brother in law’s memorial that had more than 3 children and we were the only family at church on Sunday that had more than 2 children. We were more of an oddity than normal. 😉 If only someone would have paid me for every time we heard, “You have 7(!!) children?! Are you …………(insert word of choice here, adding expletives if you’re assuming it was spoken to us at the memorial.) ???”
The only thing I heard more than shock and dismay at the number of our prodigies 😉 was comments of surprise that our children a) weren’t fighting (IN PUBLIC?!!!) and b) were friendly and polite.
At the restaurant, the couple next to us were discussing, loud enough for me to hear them, at any rate, their disgust for the size of our family. (May I pause and say how much this baffles me? I MUST assume that the only reason for their personal disgust was the thought/assumption that we would be submitting our dinner bill to them, expecting they would pay for it. Happily, I will say we did not do that, so I’m certain their disgust abated as soon as our bill was paid.) Shortly after they were discussing us, my youngest perambulating child was coming back from the bathroom – she spotted the scarf of the woman at the table, lying on the floor, in the general walkway. Quietly and with a huge smile, she picked it up, handed it to her and said, “Oh ma’am, your scarf is on the floor, I’m afraid it will get stepped on.” (So there ya grump! Heaping coals of kindness on your head.) 😉 The woman said nothing.
At the memorial, my 8 yr old (soon to be 9) took it upon herself to keep extra memory cards and deliver them, along with a smile and handshake, to each person who entered the banquet room after the service started. She did it quietly, she did it without being asked and she did it warmly.
Sunday morning was the absolute “blow me down” moment – as the older girls (17, 12, 10) were coming back from the restroom before service, they were talking amongst themselves (quietly) and a man stopped them. He said, “You must be the Clark children.” My oldest responded with, “Yes sir, we are.” and stuck her hand out to shake his and they introduced themselves. He just looked at them with an odd expression and said, “I thought so. We don’t have any children in our church that are this friendly and nice.” Thinking he must be attempting to flatter them, my #2 daughter laughed gently and said, “Oh, I bet they are.” He looked at her and said in all seriousness, “No, they aren’t. We don’t have children that can introduce themselves with such confidence and kindness.”
What is wrong with all these pictures?! Why is shock so rampant amongst people when well behaved children are out in public? I am consistently amazed at the comments we receive while in public. “Oh I bet living at your house is ……..(fill in with something akin to having toothpicks driven under your fingernails.)” or “You couldn’t pay me to have THAT many children!” Why do people assume that disrespect, unkindness and rudeness are the norm for families with many children? (Perhaps it’s not just large families that hear this??! Perhaps it’s really just the expectation for families, in general?)
I do not understand how or why common courtesy – at least it’s pretty common at our house and I’m assuming at yours as well – is so uncommon. I do not understand why people are in shock when my children speak kindly to one another. (We have a neighbor who, during a garage sale, was upbraided for referring to my daughters as sisters. “Sisters aren’t that nice to one another, and they don’t call each other ‘honey’ so you can’t be right.”)
I do not understand why parents wouldn’t WANT to teach their children to be courteous in their own homes. Who wants to have a child whine to get what they want? Who wants to have children who can’t speak kindly to one another? Who wants to have children who are demanding and expect things to flow around THEIR desires? I know of no mother who wants that! Certainly no stay at home Mom!! So what am I missing in this equation? Has courtesy simply become passe’? Am I raising up fusty children?!! (Quite possible, and I’m just not certain that’s a real problem.) 🙂
Well, thank you for reading. I’m so glad you came today. I hope you will come again and do be careful – that first step out of here into the ethernet….it’s a BIG one. Oh, and here’s your scarf. 😉 😀
(Edit: I am certain this is a given, but you all KNOW we have times of dishonoring speech, right?! Especially the maternal unit of the family, right??!!! 🙂 AND you all also know I consider it to be evidence of grace in my life when we are kind to one another, right??!!! I’m just trying to figure out why rudeness is now the seeming norm…)