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,