I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately. There's no respect for children. (And I'm not referring to the scandal currently in the news)(If you don't know what THAT refers to, Greetings! Welcome to Planet Earth!).
My primary job as a mommy of four is to raise kind, respectful, generous, contributing, helpful, faithful and loving human beings. And while there are days I certainly feel like I fall short, most of the time I think Greg and I are doing OK.
Taking all 4 of them grocery shopping tends to bring out the best and/or worst in all of us. I am primarily focused on them showing respect and courtesy to others. If someone is in our way, we say excuse me. If we are in someone else's way, we say excuse me. We smile politely when people say we have our hands full (This one is all me...). We hold the door for the person behind us (even if that person is our annoying little sister). We thank someone if they hold the door for us. We try not to yell at the moron who yanks his car into our lane unannounced (again, that might be just me...). If someone drops something, we pick it up for them. We treat those behind the counter with the same manners - always, ALWAYS saying "Please" and "Thank you". (Again, it shocks me how many folks just...don't).
But today I noticed that other shoppers do not show those same courtesies to children. We were using the restroom and Grace was holding the main door open while ladies walked in and out. Now, granted, she was doing that because she wanted to leave and her sister hadn't finished yet but those coming through didn't know this.
At one point there were maybe 3-4 women in there that had passed her. She finally looked at me a little puzzled and said, "Mommy, no one said 'Thank you'". And she was absolutely right. So, in my big girl voice I said, "Honey, you're right. But that doesn't mean that just because other people are rude and don't use manners we should stop doing things for them." Was that rude? Maybe. But I'm more than a little tired of this trend. Children are not less than. They are not annoyances to be griped about. Constantly.
As we were leaving that restroom, I relieved her of door-duty and of course, someone walked in and of course, I held the door and of course, she thanked me.
It's been a summer of shopping every week with an entourage and, probably because I have a comparison now to what it's like to shop alone, I've noticed how people treat us differently when the kids are along. They will rudely open a freezer door right into my kid's face. They will stand silently and glare until they are noticed and the kids move out of their way (If someone just says, "Excuse me!" they move immediately; If someone says, "Excuse me! EXCUSE ME! EXCUSEME!" without taking a breath, well, then they've pretty much just lost my respect)(True story).
And when people act like that - like they have no manners - my kids always look at me, puzzled. I just point out that not everyone has learned to be respectful. And yes, depending on the person, I may say it loud enough for them to hear me. Because, you guys, I'm going to call you on it. If you can say it to me or the guy with all of the tattoos then you should certainly be able to say it to the teenager with the nose ring or my loud and boisterous kids, too.
When we check out, our entourage typically takes up the entire check-out aisle. If the secondary lane is open for business I do my best to keep us to single file. Today, there was no need except that people were using that aisle to walk UP into the store. Three people did this. One (1!) said excuse me - a lovely young woman in traditional Indian clothing. Is it so hard? To recognize that they're little people learning how to navigate the world by how they are treated? To treat them kindly? Respectfully, even?
It's a trend. And a very disturbing one at that. I'm so thankful that I'm raising non-trendy people.