Tag Archives: manners

Manners, where have they gone?

Over the last 2 weeks of school holidays, I’ve become more cranky than usual, today I realised why. Manners….. or lack thereof.

Now I was always taught to use manners, to be respectful, polite and kind to others. It’s just the way I was brought up. I had presumed that everyone was taught the same at home. I certainly hope that I’m doing the same with my sons. Although as teenagers, they don’t always respect their mother whilst at home, I generally get feedback that my boys are well behaved and have lovely manners whilst out. Thank God! I’d voluntarily relinquish my parent listener if that wasn’t the case.
But what do most people think manners are? Do the youth of today even know what having manners means? I don’t know whether it’s my emerging old woman crankiness, the fact that over half the population are now younger than me, or that people are just plain devoid of the ability to use manners. But I seem to come into contact with some very rude and ill mannered people of late.

People don’t hold doors open for others and kids don’t stand up on public transport for the elderly, disabled or heavily pregnant. In general people seem to be wrapped up in their own little bubble. Unaware, or just don’t care about people around them. What happened to “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”?? Or for those who don’t speak fluent bible. “Treat everyone as you would like to be treated”

What I’ve noticed whilst out and at work, is that not many other people have been raised with the same emphasis on manners. There’s no please and thank you. I’m lucky if I get eye contact. And if the patient remembers my name after looking after them for hours on end, I’m ready to set off fireworks and shower them in gifts! But those patients are few and far between. I’m not expecting gifts for doing my job, and I understand in an emergency their minds aren’t in the right place, they might be in pain or scared, or both, I really don’t expect anything from them. But it’s the non emergent patients and family. The ones that really should have gone to their GP, but still want to be seen and treated within minutes of their arrival. The ones that seem to forget that we have limited staff and other patients that need our assistance before we see them. I’m not asking for much, other than a please and thank you occasionally.

And don’t get me started on the drivers on the roads. When have we become so unAustralian that we no longer give the nod of acknowledgement when we someone flashes their high beams on letting us know of an upcoming speed trap, or a thank you wave when someone lets you in?

Surely I’m not the only the only one out there that still nods and waves! Dean and I have made a game of it. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the wave. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the thank you wave. But it’s a bit like Christmas eve, you’re all excited, waiting for Santa to come…… then you realise you’re an adult and Santa’s not coming and you’ve got to supply the presents and cook and clean and go through bed exhausted. Waiting for acknowledgement is a bit like that.

So tonight when I go to work, I’m going to up the ante. I’m going to let in as many people as I can on the drive to work, smile and say please and thank you as much as humanly possible and be thankful that I’m at work. If good manners can rub off and make a good impression on one person. It’s worth it.

So get out there and be nice, thoughtful and well mannered, people. Don’t get cranky and cynical like me xx

What not to say to me in the supermarket

“I’m doing a public service, I’m doing a public service, I’m doing a public service” This is a little mantra I say to myself on regular basis when I go out shopping with my boys, along with the phrase “just breathe” and “keep your hands on the trolley”
As a Mum of a son with Autism, going out can sometimes be an ordeal. Adam doesn’t like big crowds or noisy places. But on the whole, he copes quite well. He loves to wear a hat and sunglasses everywhere we go, it blocks out some of the unwanted stimulus and helps him cope. He also like to have his iPad and earphones on hand. Although it appears the he doesn’t hear you, when he has the earphones in, he can hear everything, they just block out some of the white noise. 

When he was little it was fine, people accept kids behaving differently when they are little, they are cute, or it’s just put down to a toddler tantrum. But when my son, who is taller than me, goes out, wearing a hat, sunglasses and headphones indoors, whilst hand flapping, making funny noises, inter-dispersed with loud burps….that, that is generally frowned upon. 

I’ve lost count of the amount of stares, angry looks and mumbled disgruntled comments I’ve encountered. But generally (if I’m not sleep deprived), I can cope with those. It’s the comments to my face, usually made by elderly men, that I don’t cope with. Comments that Mothers (or fathers) should never have to hear, comments that should never be said out loud to be honest. They’re not all worded the same but go a little along the lines of…….”if he were my son, I would have drowned him at birth”

I have heard comments like this on a number of occasions, usually whilst I’m on holidays with the boys or whilst doing my weekly shop. 

I react in a number of different ways and never how I actually want to react. I want to say “thank God, he’s not your son then” or “why didn’t your parents drown you?” Or just punch them in the mouth. But usually I turn around and leave, generally on the verge of tears. Trying it to hold it together for my boys. 

Once I was in the shops and a man said the aforementioned comment, Dean my eldest heard it and saw the look on my face and told me to “keep moving mum” I white knuckled it to the next isle fuming. Adam wasn’t even being particularly noisy. But I immediately wanted to wave a magical wand over him to make him “not autistic” Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my magic wand, so I shushed him through the shops. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.
My Mum, the amazing woman that she is, always has sage advice. She told me years ago, that taking Adam out is a public service, it educates people. 

Forty to fifty years ago, people with disabilities were locked away. Those relatives were never talked about. But today, with inclusive schooling and parents not giving their children up, people with disabilities are a lot more visible. Generally most people now knows someone with a disability. We now have to educate people, that it’s not okay to say to me that I should have aborted my child or drowned him at birth. It’s not okay for adults to stare or point. It is okay to say hello, or ask me if I need a hand, it is okay for you to explain to your children that my son’s brain works a little differently than theirs.

I’m not expecting for everyone to change overnight, but I can prevent one person from saying these things to another mother, it’s worth it.

Be nice to everyone people. You don’t know how your words can change someone’s day. xxx