Saturday, June 28, 2014

Has Nice Gone Out of Style??

This question has plagued me for awhile now, and I'm not sure if anyone can really answer it. But seriously, what is happening to our society? I'll admit, I may have some bitterness harbored up inside my soul from years of working for an airline and dealing with the public. But it's not just about my job--it's life in general.

It's like the art of being nice, polite, and considerate have fallen to the wayside. They're luxuries our modern day society can no longer afford. Who has the time? And why bother when there's nothing in it for us?

I feel like that's the mentality, and it's everywhere from kids to neighbors to strangers in the parking lot of the nearest supermarket. People don't take the time to be courteous anymore. And what's worse, the negativity that's circulating in our world as I type this, is damaging our children in a way that can't be repaired. It's damaging ourselves. The cycle is getting darker and deeper with each go round.

It's why I can't watch the news anymore. The hatred and violence is too much. But I don't have to watch the news to be aware of violence and anger. It's everywhere. It's the guy who flicks me off because I have the nerve to beep my horn when he cuts me off driving. It's the woman who doesn't bother to hold the door open for me when I'm two steps behind her. It's the couple who refuses to lower their voice in the row behind me at the movie theater so I have to listen to them talk instead of getting lost in the film I just paid half an hours paycheck for.

These courtesies and niceties used to matter. People used to be aware of them. Now, if you make mention of someone who may be disturbing or rude, you risk getting your brains blown out when they pull out the gun they're packing.

How did we get to this point? And what will it take for nice to be in again?

In some ways, we've come so far, and in others, we've regressed in an awful, ugly way.

The other day I was walking my dog in my neighborhood, like I always do, and we passed a house that we pass everyday, but on this day, the garage was open and a little scrappy dog came bolting out and jumped onto my dog. Now, my dog is big, but he's a teddy bear. Sweet and calm. A teenage girl was standing in the driveway with her mom and they passed it off, called their dog, Princess, back to the garage. But Princess didn't go. She began biting my dog in his hind legs and back. Literally biting and growling. Such a vicious little thing. I pulled my dog away but Princess followed, still sinking her teeth into my dog.

The girl was beside us now but made no motion to pick up Princess. "Come on, Princess," she said. "Come here."

"She's biting my dog," I told her.

"Oh she's just a little dog, she won't hurt him."

"It doesn't matter, she could have something," I said. "Please don't let her bite him."

The girl glowered at me, still making no motion to pick up her dog. "She ain't got nothing."

"I don't know that. Get her off my dog."

 I led my dog all the way down the sidewalk to the stop sign with Princess still biting him and the girl still NOT picking up her dog. I told her I'd have to call someone if she didn't take care of her dog and pick her up. She told me she didn't care and I could go call whoever I wanted f***ing b***ch.

She still hadn't picked up her dog. Finally I stopped in front of her and said, "PICK UP YOUR DOG."

You know what she said to me? "Don't you tell me what to do you f***ing b***ch I'll knock you on your ass." And she got in my face to threaten me.

This from a teenage girl. Huh?

If you're curious to know how I handled it, I was pretty irritated by that point and told her to go ahead and knock me down and see what happens. She picked up her dog by then and my dog and I turned down the next street. But all the time I was wondering what in the world could've possibly put so much anger into that teenage girl? To physically threaten an adult who had done nothing but walked past her house with her dog?

I was mystified. I never would've even considered speaking to an adult that way when I was a teen. My mom woulda slapped me upside the head so fast I'd seen stars. You know what that girl's mom did? Nothing.

Could that be the problem we're facing as a society? Hmmm. I'm not condoning domestic violence or anything like that, but where is the line? At what points do parents need to step up to the plate and teach their kids how to be respectful?

Where do these violent tendencies in teens come from? I don't have to mention the recent shootings because they're fresh and obvious. But how about the teen serving a life sentence for assaulting a teenage girl at the library five years ago? I'm writing her mother's memoir right now--the mother of a once healthy vibrant girl, now confined to a wheelchair and eating through straws, no longer with use of her speech or legs, or even full vision.

All because she returned books to the library, and this teenage boy decided he'd rape and strangle her til her brain suffered a stroke. He was sixteen years old when he committed this act of violence. And left her for dead in an alligator infested swamp. He went back to the library the next day. As if nothing happened.


What's happening to our children, to our society? How do we fix it? Were these teens mean and quick to violence because someone wasn't nice to them? A lot of people maybe? How much did they themselves have to endure to make them into such hateful beings?

My daughter is seven. She just finished second grade. You know what she told me a few months ago? "My friends aren't really all that nice."

"Huh? They're not nice?"

"No," she said. "They're my friends, and I like them, but my best friends in my class are rude to me and each other. No one is nice."

She told me this again in different variations throughout the rest of the school year. Yes, she liked her friends. Yes, she remained friends with them. But did they make her feel loved as a human being. No. They weren't nice kids.

Why? What's happening? Why aren't we nice to each other?

A few years ago I had to change my job function with the airline so I could only speak to people in the UK. Why? Because they're nicer. Sorry, but it's true. Not everyone, of course, but in general, they still mind their manners and maintain politeness even when upset. I'm not saying all Americans are rude, and it's certainly not only an American issue, but it is what it is.

I'm in no way suggesting I'm above anyone else. I have my moments of improper manners just like everyone else, but I try really hard to be courteous and polite at all times. And respectful. Maybe it's just that we don't respect each other anymore. How do we get that back? What do we have to do to teach our kids respect? That it's not all about me, me, me?

I fear for my children. I really do. If they're having to deal with rudeness now in elementary school, what does the future hold?

Being nice does not mean you have to let people walk all over you. You can teach a child to be thoughtful and courteous and still stand up for themselves. Are we doing this? Are we setting the right examples?

Are we being nice to each other? Are we taking the time to be nice to kids and teens so they'll in turn be nice to each other?

Niceness is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of peace and friendship and beauty. And it spreads like wildfire when given the chance!

Next time you have the opportunity to go out of your way and be nice to someone, I hope you take it. I hope you don't skip over it because you're in a hurry, or because it's not important. It IS important.

This is our world we're talking about--our children and future. If we're not being nice, why should they?


Elephant's Child said...

This is a heart-hurting post. And I have no answers. I wish I did.
The 'its all about me' attitude isn't universal - but is too common. I don't like it, and the best I can do is refuse to play the game. I continue to say please and thank you - and I continue to try and think of others. And to act for them too. I need to for my own integrity.

D.G. Hudson said...

Society needs to re-assess it's priorities. Kids learn from their parents, other kids, or other adults they see.

I think we need a make-over of gigantic proportions.

Andrew Leon said...

My wife hates it when I say it like this, but it's a Millennial Generation problem. Of course, though, the problem was caused by the parents of those Millennials.
And I could go on, but, then, I might not ever stop.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It should be such a easy, simple, automatic thing to be nice to others. But, I agree with you. Parents are partly to blame - they aren't instilling manners in their kids, probably because it wasn't instilled in them. But also, look at today's role models - are they nice? Being nice isn't cool anymore.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No, I've thought the same thing. What happened to manners, being polite, being positive, being forgiving?
And yes, why are young people so angry? Kids that have it all, like that producer's son who went on a killing spree - that kid had everything in life, and yet he was so damn angry. Why?

Norma Beishir said...

My son and I have discussed this many times. Our world is becoming more violent every day. Teenagers, for the most part, are like animals. A schoolteacher told me most of the kids he encounters are not raised, they just grow up--with a total lack of parental involvement.

Kids like the girl you write about here think they can get away with talking to adults like that because the law protects them. You'll be arrested if you touch them.

"She ain't got nothing." Hmm...not only rude, but stupid.

Roger Lawrence said...

Over here in England, at least, I believe some of the problems stem from the notion that everyone can be famous, and rich, and successful without actually doing anything themselves. When they discover that the reality is a little harder - anger sets in and once it's there, it's very hard to remove.

PK Hrezo said...

I agree! It helps us feel like better people inside and I wonder if that's part of the problem. These kids don't feel good inside. :(

PK Hrezo said...

Totally! But where to start? Something's missing and it's gonna take something grossly catastrophic before people start doing something about it.

PK Hrezo said...

Lol I hear ya! It's interesting to trace back generations and figure out why we behave the way we do. My hubby and I do it all the time. It just feels like it's getting worse instead of better.

PK Hrezo said...

That's what's so scary. Everything is flashy and fast and sassy. And those things are fun, but we're losing something so important. I'm scared by some of the role models out there. Truly scared.

PK Hrezo said...

The million dollar question. It's so baffling. It proves money can't buy everything--and our society is so obsessed with money that it's consuming our social skills. We keep making things faster and more convenient when what we need is people to remember hard work and community.

PK Hrezo said...

Yep. It's our fault as parents for taking the easy way out and being lazy. But then maybe our parents did the same thing. It takes only one person to end the cycle. I should've hugged that girl and shown her some love.

PK Hrezo said...

Interesting point. Life is frustrating that way-- when we have to actually work for something. But it builds character too. Something so many kids are lacking today.

Robin said...

First, I am going to address the dog. Poor dog. If "Princess" bit your dog hard enough that your dog had bite marks and it required a visit to the vet, you should take her to small claims court. That would be good for you and the dog. If you can get on Judge Judy... all the better. She has zero tolerance for smart mouth kids and even less for people who allow their dog to bite another dog or person. That kid would get a quick lesson on The Right Thing To Do.

I think that Andrew has a point with this Millennial generation thing. Of course, they were raised (or not) by someone and we are seeing the effects of that. Too many Millenials are raised by parents in my generation who did a really lousy job of raising their children. When my ex's kids were in elementary school (they are Millennials) I was shocked at how many grandparents were raising the kids. And how mean the kids were to each other in elementary school. My ex's kids are now in high school and the boy is a good kid. Good heart. Now, ironically, the girl was the one who was most sensitive as a child and is now the most shut down. And mean. I put the blame for this, in large part, at the feet of her father who simply was a bad parent after we split. Bad is in not being a good role model. Bad as in not putting the needs of his kids over his own. Bad as in not parenting.

Her behavior now shocks him. Doesn't surprise me at all. She MODELED after him. She is the female version of HIM. He is not a nice person. I think the boy decided he didn't want to be like his father and deliberately does everything opposite. I don't know about that, but I bet it is right.

I think your question is, "How do we save these kids?" The answer is to make parents parent. How do we do that????? In lieu of that, you always set the best example you can and always be courteous. Maybe a stranger will see that, feel it, and decide that they want it for themselves. No one wants to be unhappy and mean. They need a light for their path.

E.J. Wesley said...

While not always the case, the behavior of children typically reflects the behavior of the parents. Young people learn by emulation. I hate going to grocery stores now, not because of the kids, because of the parents.

People are so rude and bitchy, I feel like I'm always apologizing to a check out person for something the person in front of me said or did to them. And when they inevitably say, "It's no big deal. Happens all the time." I tell them it is a big deal, and that no one should be treated like that.

I would never have spoken to an adult like that girl spoke to you. (Heck, I still wouldn't talk to another adult like that!) I was too afraid of what my father would do (when I was little) or think (when I was older). As crazy as it sounds, I've got too much self-respect to disrespect others. I'm better than that.

I will attribute part of this lack of a moral compass and social etiquette to the Internet. People literally live their lives online now, and they try to take that behavior/lifestyle offline. Online, you go where you want, when you want, and say anything you'd like without any consequence or repercussion.

I could easily take what that girl said to you, slap it into a Facebook comment, and it'd be no different than a thousand others I've seen. And to worsen the problem, now, if life doesn't go your way you just get a weapon and take it out on innocent people as if it's going to somehow teach the world a lesson.

At the heart of it, I think we live in a world where a lot of people don't feel loved. There's this feeling of being a number or faceless (again, part of the Internet phenomenon, I think), and thinking that nothing you say or do has any real value. So why try? That's why small, random acts of kindness are so very important. You might be the only person in an entire week to demonstrate that someone is more than the world's doormat simply by letting them go ahead of you in line when your buggy is full and they have 3 items.

I do that frequently btw, and I'm literally met with slack-jawed confusion/appreciation most of the time. People just can't believe I'd sacrifice three minutes of my time to save ten minutes of theirs. Sad.

Roger Lawrence said...

The last time I offered my seat to a pregnant woman on a very busy underground she called me a sexist **** and invited me to do something very rude to myself.I was afraid to do it again for months.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Pk, I have pondered this question myself many, many times. As a teacher, I have seen hundreds of rude children who think nothing of talking back to an adult. It's a widely observed phenomenon in elementary school that kids will (grudgingly) obey their own teacher, but ignore or talk back to any other teacher who reprimands them - for say, running in the hall.

When I have occasion to meet the parents, I often see the reason why. These parents are just as rude. I can't tell you how many school performances have been ruined for me because the parents talk all the way through the show -- except, maybe, when their own kid is on the stage. (Then they stand up, wave, and take pictures.)

We have more than one generation of Americans who were never taught any manners.

shelly said...

Sounds like kids need less time in front of their TVs and game boxes. Reality TV is their example of how to be. And Game Box desensitizes them.

They also need a good Jesus meeting!

Good post! You wrote my mind.

Hugs and chocolate!

Carrie-Anne said...

I would never dream of sassing or threatening an elder completely unprovoked like that. I even still have a hard time calling my elders by their first names instead of Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Rabbi, etc. I've been an adult for quite some time, but I can't shake my training of showing respect for my elders by addressing them as titles.

Parking lot confrontations are horrid. My parents taught me better than to stalk parking spots (unless it's, like, right before Christmas and you have no choice in a swamped lot), yell at strangers for "stealing" a parking spot, or rant and rave because someone touched your door (without leaving a scratch) when leaving his or her car. You don't know if that person might have a gun or if s/he'll start a physical fight. I also love getting honked at when I'm the one driving safely instead of letting someone else violate right of way or do something extremely dangerous. Get killed or cause an accident on your own time.

I just had to turn off comments on a blog post for the first time because of the long rants and personal attacks from two Arbonne fanatics. As I said in the final comment before disabling comments, would you go onto a vegan blog and write a long rant about how meat-eating is awesome or use a devout Catholic's blog to claim Catholics aren't real Christians? Why are you so bent out of shape by an opposing viewpoint and experience that you feel the need to waste so much time and energy personally attacking someone who didn't drink the Kool-Aid? The latest troll even said he wasn't inclined to read a word of my writing or take seriously any of my book reviews or blog posts about writing craft, all because I dared call a pyramid scheme what it is. And yet, I was the one accused of being immature, rage-filled, hateful, jealous, sad, etc., just for calmly expressing an opinion and experience.

PK Hrezo said...

That is so sad about his daughter. It's like some point someone has to take a stand and make a change. ( do I hear a Michael Jackson song in the background?)
But seriously amen to your last statement. We really have to be the light for some of these kids or else they're just lost forever.

PK Hrezo said...

I contribute a lot of it to internet too. It just makes it easier for mud to be thrown with no repurcussions.
The older I get the more I realize how those small gestures of kindness can make such a difference. You're so right about so many kids growing up in either broken loveless homes , or the exact opposite-- spoiled and un-disciplined. Parents let their kids get away with murder these days and aren't teaching them common courtesies.
Taking the time to be nice is an extra effort, but like you say-- rewards us with Ed-respect, something a lot of these kids are missing.

PK Hrezo said...

Ugh I hate to hear that Roger. On behalf of women, I apologize for her behavior. Most of us appreciate courtesy like you showed. Don't let her ruin you. :)

Murees Dupé said...

Thank you for having the guts to write this post. I agree with everything you said here and I have noticed similar things here in South Africa.

For me it is frustrating because I am only 28 years old, but my mother raised my siblings and myself to be polite, courteous and respectful. Sometimes people tell us we were raised for a past era, not the current one.

But even when i feel like crap, I try to be kind to people. I treat others as I wish to be treated and sometimes it is hard. Many times I fail, especially with children and teenagers (unknown), because they cuss at me all the time.

I would have kicked princess to high heaven, even though I am pro-animals. My dog is like my son and if anyone hurts him, which they have before, I go crazy momma on them.

I want to wish you well and hope some strangers show you some kindness. You deserve some.

PK Hrezo said...

It's why my mom retired early. She was a high school teacher for 20 years and couldn't take it anymore. Kids kept getting worse and worse.
I can't imagine having to deal with some of the parents out there. I have the utmost respect for teachers like you who keep teaching despite the BS.
And btw I really hate when parents do that at shows. Or save front row seats for like 10 people who don't show up til after the show starts.

Janie Junebug said...

I think rudeness has grown by leaps and bounds since people have been granted the anonymity of the internet. Shame, too, is lacking. I taught high school briefly. Many of my students had already been in jail or juvenile detention, and it didn't bother them in the least. My parents would have set me straight if I'd ever behaved the way that girl did with you. If it happens again, or maybe you don't want to wait for it to happen again, you can call animal control and the police because you've been threatened with bodily harm. I would hate to go that route, but sometimes you have to make an extra effort to put the fear of God in some people. Hot Young Anthony, my darling neighbor, told me quite recently that a great deal of tension is brewing in our neighborhood because of some people who moved here recently. They have two large dogs that keep getting out of their yard. They have killed at least two cats--pet cats, not feral cats. Animal control has been alerted. Anthony says anger is running high. I stay inside. When I walk my dog, I go when a number of other people are out and about so I feel I have some protection and witnesses. No one in my neighborhood has ever been unkind to me, and I'm so sorry that you were in such an impossible situation with that girl.


Janie Junebug said...

To Roger Lawrence: Please don't give up on behaving in a gentlemanly manner. When I visited my daughter in San Francisco, we rode the BART several times. I would get on with my daughter's assistance, quite obviously not able to walk or see terribly well, and every single time that it was crowded a man offered me his seat. I thanked him sincerely.

Liz Fichera said...

I totally get this post and agree with it. I wish I had the answer. I don't understand it at all; not how we were raised either.

That said, behavior begins at home. If your parents or guardians aren't instilling these values, you'll be lost and wind up like that teenage girl and her dog.

spajonas said...

PK, you hit the nail on the head again. I was just thinking today about politeness as I held open the door for people and they walked through without a glance at me. Or how I pointedly thanked the person who held open the door for me yesterday and he looked so surprised.

When did it become unpopular to be nice? Why has this continued in a slow decline for decades? My grandmother had remarked on this her whole life. I kind of wonder what state we'll be in 10, 20, or 50 years from now. It's very disheartening.

William Kendall said...

I imagine you're getting an entire generation who were raised spoiled, indulged in everything.

I was on the flipside of this not too long ago. I generally hold a door open if someone's within range- I don't really mind if someone doesn't say thank you, it's not that big a deal.

I was walking towards a building, distracted with my own thoughts, and the guy ahead held the door open. I was so distracted that I didn't say thanks- and out of nowhere he starts berating me for not saying thanks. That annoyed me- is he that petty that not hearing that would cause him to blast a total stranger? I let him have it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

As a former high school teacher, I've seen lots of rudeness and plain old mean. But I've also seen acts of such generosity and kindness that they've brought tears to my eyes. My personal opinion is that it is a parent's fault when their kid grows up with a terrible attitude. Not sure what the fix is.

Old Kitty said...

I think nice has always been around, as is its nemesis and complete opposite. They've never really gone away and have always existed, but I guess now when acts based on both are taken to the extreme, such things become news. Think of the late Stephen Sutton {hope you don't mind his just giving page link: On the flip side there is Elliot Rodger.

I'm really sorry about your brush with that nasty teenager and mum.
:-( Their dog sounds like it's already damaged and may do worse given its environment, poor thing.
I'd like to think there's an opposite to this teenager and mum somewhere though! Well like you as a mum and your family! You are the opposites! And I thank heavens people like you exist to counter the damaged.

Take care

PK Hrezo said...

Sorry my replies have come out all wonky. They were supposed to be right beneath each comment.

Shelly, I agree. The world's gotten too politically correct and we've lost family morals and ethics along the way. Thank God my parents raised me in the church.

Carrie-Anne that's just lame. Those trolls have nothing better to do, and no life at that. It just sucks for them to spread negativity when it's the last thing we need more of.

Murees, thanks for your comment! I hate hearing teens and kids talk so foully. It's not the cursing, it's the meanness behind it that makes me so sad. There's such a lack of respect anymore, and I intend to make sure my kids understand what it means.

Janie, thanks! My dog has actually been attacked before for nothing more than walking on his leash down the sidewalk, so I'm a bit sensitive to it. I did consider calling animal control on that girl but really it'd only increase her anger. I thought of leaving a note that expressed my sympathies for being so mean-hearted, but it prolly wouldn't have the effect i want. So I just leave it alone and if it happens again, I'll handle it. Ugh I hope that dog gets caught soon in your neigborhood! It's crazy when we can't walk thru our own neighborhoods without fear.

PK Hrezo said...

Liz, that's what's so scary.... that parents are being parents and continuing the cycle. Kids get away with too much nowadays and it's hurting us.

Steph, I'm scared of it too--for my own kids. I think peeps are just so distracted that we forget our manners and altho it may not seem like a big deal, in the long run, it is.
We're all like walking time bombs waiting to explode at the right moment someone sets us off. And that's so scary.

William, I think you're right. Kids don't have to work for anything anymore. It doesn't ruin my day if someone forgets to say thank you, but it does tend to negate the act of kindness. It's hard enough as it is to keep a positive attitude and spread niceties, but when it goes unnoticed, it can have an adverse effect.

Susan, the world is full of wonderful people who do amazingly kind things all the time. I know it. But the truth is, I witness more rudeness and selfishness than I do acts of kindness. Hatred and violence have been around since the dawn of time, and I do not believe it will ever change. But it's becoming more and more common and acceptable, and that's what kills me.

Old Kitty, that's such a great way to look at it. The yin and yang to life. I'm not familiar with those people you mentioned, I'll have to check them out.
I do think I'm living somewhere where respect and manners are fewer and far between. My state is ever growing and changing and the general vibe is very self-centered and nasty.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

My theory is based on the ant farm.

Once the population hits a critical mass and there isn't enough terrain for the locals to spread out, but poop piles up and the ants turn on each other.

There may just be too many people crammed into too small a space.

Mark Means said...

My wife and I talk about this -all the time-....seriously. One of our theories revolves around the internet and it's anonymity. You can, pretty much, say anything you want and not really have to worry too much about consequences. I think some take this to the next level and figure, "well, I can do it online...might as well try it in my real life, too".

I also agree with Andrew. When you have maladjusted people actually raising children, what more can you expect.

Great post and very topical.

Sherry Ellis said...

This is a sad, but unfortunately true commentary. Kids see people being rude to each other on TV, and they imitate it. I don't think there's enough quality family time, either. People spend so much time in front of screens, or holding texting devices, that they become very self-centered, not thinking about how other people feel.

Karen Walker said...

This breaks my heart, Pk because it is so true. That is absolutely hateful that the teenager girl treated you so disrespectfully and wasn't responsible for her dog's behavior. I don't know what to do about this. It fills me with despair.

Lynda R Young said...

We're all so angry because we've lost the art of communication, and more especially respect. It's now about our own individual world and anyone outside that world is an inconvenience or not worth the space they occupy. It's truly sad.

Tammy Theriault said...

this is exactly why I don't watch the news. so much corruption and bad going on, I can't fathom it all.

PK Hrezo said...

Good theory AC!

Mark I think that's the gist of it too. We're losing social skills at such a rapid pace.

Sherry, self-centeredness is def the problem. The golden rule is no longer common knowledge.

Karen, it breaks my heart too. And I suppose the only way to counter the hatred and anger is to kill with kindness.

Lynda, that's it in a nutshell. We're so sucked into our own little worlds we ignore the small pleasantries that can make such a difference.

Tammy. I hear ya. I can't carry that weight on my shoulders anymore either. It's too depressing.

Kyra Lennon said...

This is something I worry about ALL the time.

I used to work in a toy shop, and the manners were unbelievable. Hardly any kids said please or thank you, and their parents rarely even prompted them to do so. This is BASIC. Sheesh, when I was a kid, if I didn't say please, I got nothing. If people can't learn or teach basic respect, then they have no idea when they are crossing the line.

And trust me, people aren't so nice in the UK either lol. Honestly, I thought Americans were more polite than Brits!

L.G. Keltner said...

This is a tough subject for me. I make a conscious effort to be a nice person, because it really does seem like it's sorely lacking in our world. At the same time, I can't bring myself to judge someone too harshly if they come across as angry and bitter. That's because I was once quote bitter and angry myself. Between the ages of 12 and 14, I pretty much hated everything. My anger was a self-defense mechanism. I don't want to get into the reasons why I became so angry at that time. That was half a lifetime ago for me, and I still cry when I think about it too much. Needless to say, it was a bad time for me.

Still, not every angry person can be attributed to the same kind of circumstances I had to deal with. Part of it may well be a lack of communication. Sometimes I can see quite clearly that many people simply don't know how to interact with each other. I have a good friend who has always been a nice guy. Unfortunately, being nice is such an oddity that most girls he's polite to assume he's flirting with them.

I don't know that there are any answers. Just keep being the nice person that you are. The world needs you.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. It's so upsetting.

My son is 8 and I make him use his manners everywhere we go. He says Mr., Mrs., and Ms. in front of our friends names. He writes thank you notes. Others say I'm too hard on him, he's just a kid. But, then I say, but he's going to be an adult one day. He must learn now. We have to start somewhere. I'm starting at home.

Hope you can let go of those bad vibes and embrace some good ones!


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Cherie Reich said...

I don't necessarily think the world is any more violent now than it was in the past. We are just more aware of it because the world in many ways has gotten so much smaller with the invention of the Internet and instant communication around the world.

As for the anger, it probably stems back to the founding of America. After all, we were promised a bright future in this new land. The whole picket fence and house, etc. People thought they could journey to a new land and find their gold and settle down to the good life. Only through the generations people forgot you had to work hard to get that good life and not everyone who works hard gets the good life either. The ideal made people feel entitled and eventually bitter and angry. People pass it on to their children and children's children.

That said, I believe it can turn around. It takes one person to be kind and nice to create a ripple. It's not something that will be easy, and we need to do a lot of work, but it can be done.

Susan Oloier said...

PK, I'm glad you wrote this post. I have observed the same things in the last ten years or so. I don't watch the news, either. And, anymore, it seems best to stay off FB because people (even those who call themselves "friends") are very rude to each other, too. In my opinion, we have come to believe we're entitled to things (respect, money, cutting in front of someone in line) rather than earning it or being patient for it. So very sad. You're not alone in your feelings. And I'm sorry about the incident with you and your dog. Shame on your neighbor and her daughter.

M Pax said...

I think because things are so fast and no one has time to breathe. People are uber stressed. Stress usually manifests as anger and rage.

Teenagers have an emotion issue anyway with hormones, but it's odd the mother didn't step in.

But I also think people can be very generous and kind. I think however we see it, whether we flop to one side or the other, our lenses are tinted. :)

SA Larsenッ said...

I don't watch the new anymore either, PK. Can't bring myself to do it. It seems that only the 'bad' in the world is worthy of sensationalism. I hate that, and I think that mentality has bled to the inside of our homes. I smile and gentle comment is a seed of positive wonder in others' lives. We need to spread that more readily. Plus, we - and I mean all of us, not just kids - must hold ourselves accountable for our behaviors. We always talk about others holding us accountable. But we must expect more from ourselves as well. That will spread to our kids and their kids, etc... At least I hope the heck it does. Thanks for writing this, sweetie. It needed to be said.

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