For example, today hubby and I were out running errands and we decided to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. Thinking back, this was probably a mistake since having a meal at The Cheesecake Factory tends to be akin to going to a three-ring circus, but nevertheless...
We sat down and began perusing the menu when a young family was seated next to us - a mother, father and a little girl, probably two years old. With the exception of about 5-10 minutes, the ENTIRE hour they were there the little girl STOOD on the chair. Not once did either of her parents instruct her to SIT down. They just let her stand as they went about eating their dinner. She was standing and looking over the divider at other people, climbing on the chair and being a general annoyance. For the 5-10 minutes that she actually sat, she did so with her feet on the table. When her feet were not on the table, she was kicking her mother in the boobs. Not once was the little girl instructed in anyway to behave any differently than she was behaving. She was never told to sit. She was never told to take her feet off the table. She was never even told to stop kicking her mother's boobs.
So this got me thinking: at what age will this girl learn that when eating dinner, she should sit at the table - not stand, that her feet go on the floor and not on the table and not on her tablemates' breasts? And the bigger question is - who will teach her these things (since it clearly will not be her parents)? Will it be her teachers once she enters school who will be saddled with the responsibility? Or the minister at church? Or perfect strangers in restaurants who have less restraint than hubby and me? Or will she just grow up to be like a chimpanzee...jumping and climbing, eating with her hands, smearing shit all over the place, screeching and having sex while swinging off trees?
On a womens' discussion board I frequent, one of the women posted a thread entitled, "I don't normally do this, but..." It read:
Today I was in the grocery store and I was walking by the bakery dept. and there was a mother with 4 children standing there and they were staring at the doughnuts and the mom kept asking the kids what kind they wanted. The kids started opening the little bin doors and taste testing the doughnuts - a little glob of frosting here, a little pinch of doughnut there. The mom said NOTHING about the fact these kids were playing with all this food. She just kept asking them what kind they wanted. Finally she grabbed a few doughnuts and started to leave. I said, "Lady, you might want to also buy the doughnuts your kids were playing with because nobody's going to want them after your kids have been playing with them." She, of course, told me to mind my own business in a not-so-friendly way. I told her I would be happy to mind my own business if she would mind her own children.
Now, I don't want to sound like an old curmudgeon - I'm really not that old - but IN MY DAY parents actually raised their children and taught them right from wrong and instructed their children in manners and proper behavior. You would never see a kid sticking his fingers into doughnuts in a case, or standing on his chair at a restaurant table and if you did see such a thing, it would only be for a brief moment because the parent would immediately jump in and correct the kid.Americans in our current age are just so uncooth and unmannerly. There is no civility anymore. Children are ill-behaved and ill-mannered because they learn from their ill-mannered parents who just don't give a shit. They don't care who their kids are bothering, offending, annoying and contaminating. Through their lack of action, they teach their kids not to care about or have consideration for others. Our society has turned into a kindergarchy where kids rule the world while dim-witted, slack-jawed grown-ups tune out.
The scary thing about all this is that these ill-mannered, uncaring chimpanzees are going to one day run society when we're elderly and vulnerable. Better keep a cyanide pill tucked away someplace handy.