Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Respect. Or the lack thereof...

Respect. It's a funny thing isn't it? Except when you're not getting any. Is it just me or is today's generation even more disrespectful than usual? I mean on the whole. It seems to me that every generation thinks it re-invented the wheel, but this one thinks it invented everything. Okay, this isn't really meant to be a rant, just a frank discussion about the nature of respect.

I taught my children to be respectful of other people. Not just older people, but all people. At least I tried. My children (especially Sean) seem to have scarily accurate bullshit detectors and if you're feeding them crap, you're gonna get served right back to you with garnish. And that I'm fine with. And I know certain people *cough cough* my folks *cough* would say that my kids are disrespectful to me. And looking at Sean & I's argument from yesterday's blog, I can see how that might be thought. But the difference is that Sean and I were playing. And when we're playing, trash talking, blowing each other crap it's cool for him to talk to me like that. But they all know the difference. They know if they disrespect out of anger or when we're having a serious discussion that there will be hell to pay. My own private little brand of hell. Lol.

So what's prompting this discussion? Three incidents from the last few weeks have brought it into focus. The first happened a couple of weeks ago. Lu and the hippie, who will now be called Dexter, went to a wedding of one of his friends in his hometown. Since they would be out late they stayed the night as his parents house. It was a Saturday night. The next morning, his dad attempted to rouse Dexter and his sister for church. They are catholic. Dexter doesn't live at home and doesn't go to church. His sister is younger and still lives at home. His father and mother went to church alone, but were quite upset about it. After church an argument ensued and I gather harsh words were spoken. The culmination was his father declaring "if you sleep here on a Saturday night, you go to church on Sunday." When Lu and I discussed it later, I told her well if they wanted to avoid church not to stay on Saturday. And while I would never try to force religion on someone, it was obvious his father had strong feelings on the subject and since it was his house he had every right to make that a rule. That if you are accepting someone's hospitality then you had to follow their rules. If they're paying for everything and welcoming you into their home than respect that hospitality and play by the rules.

The second incident happened last weekend. Now I have a half bath off the master bedroom which has a toilet and a sink. It is MY bathroom. It is the only female bastion in my entire house. The one place that boys are not allowed. Oh, they can come in to get Q-tips, borrow toothpaste, ect., but they are absolutely forbidden to potty in there. We have two other toilets in the house (that I don't use). The only exception is CJ and I'm not gonna try to stop him from using it if it's closest, that would be a recipe for disaster. Nobody but me cleans my bathroom so what I say goes. My guys are very good about adhering to this rule. Lu, of course, has bathroom privileges there. So last weekend, Dexter was down (as he is every weekend) and Lu was getting ready to go to work. Dexter got up to take her to work since they were seeing a movie after she got off. Lu was in my bathroom brushing her teeth. I saw Dexter go into the bathroom and then I heard the clink of the toilet lid/seat against the tank. I hollered "he better not be using my toilet!!" and Lu said that he had come in to brush his teeth. Well, then I heard it. The unmistakable sound of guy pee. I was pissed. As soon as the toilet flushed I descended like a banshee (and seeing as how it was morning, I may have looked like one). "WTF Lu??!! WTF?!" To which she responded "I told him to stop!! He said it was too late". I then explained to Dexter that he had won himself the job of cleaning that toilet. And he agreed to do the job. They left and he didn't come back for hours. He said he was scared to return. (I'm apparently very scary. Or he just knows I get stabby sometimes.) Turns out he'd seen hubby and several of our guy friends in town. He explained his transgression and the replies were~

Hubby: well you must not have taken a dump because your head is still attached to your body! She'll kill you for that.

C: What? You guys have a third bathroom? I've never even seen it!

E: Stacey's freakin scary. Never piss her off when she's cooking and has a wooden spoon in her hand either. I almost cried and she wasn't even yelling at me.

HA! See, I teach respect. Or fear. Or well, a healthy dose of both. Dexter later told Lu that I had given him "that look" and that's why he was scared. At dinner the other night I asked him exactly what look I'd given him and one of the other boys said "well I wasn't there, but I'm gonna guess it's the same look you're giving him now." Anyway, I explained that it tied in with the "respecting hospitality" rule. The guys might think it's a silly rule, but it's my house, so it's my rules. He swears he didn't know, Lu swears he did. But I'm damn sure he won't use that bathroom again.

The third incident was that I got sucked into an argument with a teenager on FB. I know, not well done of me, but he pushed my buttons. It started with a comment on one of the guys we know's status. It said "Into the Wild read it". And Dexter commented "or watch it. definitely." Have you seen it?? This movie was so boring, two hours of my life I will never get back. So I commented "No way. Ten hours of my life down the drain." which was an obvious joke, because the movie is not ten hours long. Well this teenager comes back about how I must not of grasped the concept and be all about materialism. Scuse me??! You don't even know me! I responded that I got the concept, I just thought it had been done better and that he shouldn't attack people he didn't know. And that we could continue the discussion in twenty years when he had some life experience. To which he replied that I lived in small town, what did I know? So I told him I hadn't lived there all my life, I was well travelled, had he ever been out of the Midwest?? And he asked who made me the supreme being? I replied with a "what? you didn't get the memo??" and told him that I could respect his enthusiasm for his opinion if not his technique of arguing and called a truce. To which he readily agreed and admitted he was out of ammo. So it ended well. But he's not the first teenager I've talked to that thinks their generation invented a disdain for material possessions and a laid back attitude and desire to return to nature. Ever heard of the sixties, dude?? What about Henry David Thoreau? I mean really? It's all been done before kids. You're not that original.

You all know I respect the non-conformist. But if you're just conforming to your idea of a non-conformist doesn't that just make you a cheerio of a different brand? You may look different from the regular cheerios, but deep down you're made of the same stuff. You are NOT a fruit loop. I guess what bothers me most is that their disdain for materialism is not really born out of a desire to reform society's ills, but out of their own laziness. "I'm not going to get a job because I'd rather lay around all day and contemplate the fur in my belly button, but I'm going to claim it's because I don't need any of the creature comforts. However, when mom & dad are footing the bills, I really like food in the fridge, cable TV, and a comfy bed". The hell, kids?? The hell?? Get a job, you wanna be hippie slacker!!

Hmmm...I seem to have gone off on a tangent. Sorry bout that. But the original idea is still there. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And what it means to me. What do you think?? Seriously, I want to know....

deep thoughts for a Tuesday,


  1. Hmmm These are some heavy thoughts for my demented bean to handle today.

    May have to ponder that whole respect thing. Perhaps that alone speaks volumes, no?

  2. I've found myself in a few pissing matches at various places online that were caused by some 'whippersnapper' complaining about 'the boomer' generation.It irks the hell out of me that some of these 'kids' thumb their noses at some outstanding accomplishments from 'my generation' (ever heard of the civil rights movement? Rock and roll?) and yet in the end I feel badly for them...what accomplishments beyond surviving the future we handed them are they really going to have?

  3. It cracks me up that you scare the crap out of those whipper snappers. Respect/Fear, I'll take either...looks like you'll get both! I wish I had my own bathroom, completely all to myself, I'm jealous!

  4. "Is it just me or is today's generation even more disrespectful than usual?"

    Nope. Not just you. They feel entitled to everything.

    "well I wasn't there, but I'm gonna guess it's the same look you're giving him now."

    Bahahah! I heart you so much!

    I am sorry about the disrespect. I am only twenty-six, but I can see the huge different in generations. When that girl totalled my car because she was texting on her phone? No apology, no "are you okay?" - - it was, "OMG! MY car!"


  5. I am seeing this behavior in my niece. She spent the weekend with my parents and no matter how many times she has been told to stay out of their bedroom, she continually went in there. I guess she was hoping mom would get tired of yelling and let her do what ever.

    She has even gotten to where she doesn't ask for things in a polite way, she demands things.

    Respect seems to be lost on the future generations.

  6. I have noticed the air of self entitlement, and perhaps a waif of cockiness as well. What I do find though is that it tends to occur more outside the presence of parents though. Still makes me want to walk over, pull up their pants and turn their hats around..oh and tell them to get off my lawn!

  7. Respect is something lost today it seems, I too was raised to respect my elders and taught my children the same thing, I am impressed if I speak to a teen and get replies that include Yes Sir, No Sir and such, we don't see much of that today.

    Each generation has worked hard to make it easier for our children and along with the technology offered it seems things are getting too easy for this generation, and with the fear of arrest if we correct our children have made a lot of parents scared to do anything but allow them to run wild, this is where the lack of respect comes in. Parents have lost the respect because they are scared to demand it.

    Arrest me because my children know where I stand and I will not lay down and let them run me over, Respect or fear I agree with you, there has to be a little of one to get the other and this generation scares me because they have neither.

    Sorry I could have done a post here also.

  8. I'm so annoyed! I have my own bathroom and I understand. I hate to have to use someone else's too.
    I do not understand people who attack. Doesn't it make them feel bad?
    I am invisible in the street and supermarket.

    Ergo, I think we should have a coup and take over everything. Gorgeous men shall feed us grapes (by which I mean chocolate) and we shall rule.

  9. Yes, every generation thinks the next shows them no respect. But, each generation wants to do things their way.

    I think our generation has no problem with the next having a respectful opinion...but there are limits. Some kids seem to be taught 'em, others...not so much.

    And the internet gives them that level of anonymity that lets them say whatever the hell they want....which is definitely NOT okay.

  10. If the rules of the house are known in advance, then, um, YES they need to be followed. Or don't stay at that house. Pretty simple, really. I was once worried my own teenagers didn't show enough respect, but now they are in their 20's they seemed to have found it quite nicely. So maybe it's just a matter of growing up. But you have to keep at 'em and let 'em know it's important.

  11. Respect seems to have faded with kids these days.

    It's a shame.

    Like I find it I tell other kids that Tommy has to come in, they're all, "WHY?" It's rude. Because I SAID so, you brat.

  12. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I'll be singing that one all night.

    I love that you made him clean out your "throne". If I had a third toilet to spare, I would definitely be claiming it.

    As far as the FB, I think the anonymity and relative safety of a computer screen, makes people bolder than they'd otherwise be. I'm fairly certain that kid wouldn't call you ignorant, sheltered, or materialistic to your face. If he did all you'd have to do is glare at him and he'd pee his pants...not your toilet though. :)

  13. Dani~ sorry to whip out the serious on you. Lol.

    Brite~ I think there's still lots to accomplish. Making the world a "greener" place for one. But they're gonna have to get off their collective asses and do it!

    Suzicate~ yeah, I'm fierce! I wish editors were scared of me...lol.

    UnA~ I always forget how young you are because you are so mature. What a little brat that girl was. But yes, everything revolves around them.

    Heather~ Not on your own homefront!! I hope your parents stood firm with her. My kids wouldn't dream of not respecting my folks rules. My dad is still very scary. Must be the military in him.

    AA~ yes, more away from their parents of course. But some even with..

    Jimmy~ I agree wholeheartedly! And don't worry about the length of your comment, I asked for your opinion and I appreciate the discussion!

    Kathryn~ I do think the internet gives them more voice. I just wish that they were using that voice in a better way. No, I appreciate that they have opinions, but if you have to attack to argue then you missed debate class. Lol.

    DfG~ So there's a light at the end of the tunnel? Yay!

    WW~ It is rude, but I remember that question from my kids being little. A simple "because it's time for him to save the world. Duh" really confuses them.

    Mrs. Bear~ well I don't know the kid personally, but I definitely would have let him have both barrels if he said that to my face. I tried to be polite on the internet. They use that crap as evidence, you know? Lol.


  14. So true!! I could make your hair curl with stories from my neice and her boyfriend that lived with me for 9 months. And YES, I shared a bathroom. A very tiny one and had a lot of dark hair that was not from my black lab at all. Eww.

    Respect, sing it sister!!

  15. I swear, I had the same feelings about the grade 9's when I was a senior in high school. With each successive generation, it becomes painfully evident that respect is an endangered species.