Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Life Lesson

Late yesterday I did that 6.30pm dash to the local convenience store to buy something for dinner and cleverly avoid the supermarket, which we all know is anything but a dash.  It's the kind of place that's not a corner store and occasionally has specials.  Although sadly not the Taco kits which at $9.20 I wisely decided not to buy.  I'm standing in a pseudo queue of three people with three people serving like in the good old days, when a young girl goes and stands behind someone being served.  Now even though she appeared to be a queue jumper, she had the hall marks of someone who's Mum had asked her to rush in and "pick up "x" for me", and had thrust $5 in her hand.  She had that look, as well as the fact she looked about 12 which is an age I am very sympathetic towards.  As it's the kind of thing my son does often for me.

We all know a queue jumper when we see one, and don't get me wrong, I'm the first to give them the evil eye and the sigh.  But this girl simply didn't meet the brief.

"Excuse me there's a queue", the man in front of me loudly barks at the girl.  "WTF Grumpy Man" I think bemusedly, "we're all about to be served and out of here within the next minute and half, we're not talking Coles on Christmas Eve here".  She seems to have not heard him.  The man arranges himself a little more (as he moves up a spot in the queue), and calls again "You're pushing in" to her.  By now she is blushing as she's been served.  He turns around and says to no one in particular "I have old fashioned values".

As if that gets him off the hook for embarrassing a young girl with no ill intent, nor knowledge of what she'd actually done.  I thought how my fella would feel if that was him. And I sneered down my nose at that man and his sense of indignance.

Old fashioned values would have shrugged shoulders at witnessing a small mistake and ignored it.
Old fashioned values wouldn't have made a fool of someone on purpose.

We all have a legacy of lessons we've learned that we try and pass on.  I was brought up by a mother who was a stickler for table manners and decorum.  The Sister and I ate our Saturday night fish and chips off a silver tray containing plates, a cut crystal vase which had our dessert of half an orange each and a Denby jug of full cream milk.  To this day, eating fish and chips from the paper still feels a little naughty.  The Sister just posted a Facebook picture of a china gravy jug she took camping which would have pleased our mum immensely.  So table manners are a biggie for me, it's kind of ingrained.

And as a mum, and an adult I try and pass on what I believe in to my kids, although getting 3 hot and tired boys to give up their hard won seats for adults on a packed Melbourne tram wasn't really worth the scene I was causing.  Still....

I think intuitively you know what's right and wrong, you know the biggies and the ones you can let slide every now and again.  And yes, it's our job to live the values we've learnt and pass them on to the next generation, but times are changing and sometimes some of that old fashionedness has to change with it.

Because sometimes the way we teach the lesson is how the lesson is learnt.

What old fashioned values do you have?

Image found here - thanks for the borrow

1 comment:

  1. I read your post just after picking my 13yr old daughter from a sleepover. When I was her age we referred to all grown ups as Mr or Mrs So and So, these days everyone's on a first name basis...and I'm okay with that, but even now when visiting my folks and one of their friends arrives, I still feel weird calling them by their first name. Back to the sleepover - I was waiting with the other mums while our girls gathered their stuff - mine was the last to come down the stairs and I was pretty pleased when she stopped to thank the host Mum for having her over, as the other girls had pretty much ignored her on the way to the front door. And it's not because they're inherently rude - they're a lovely bunch, really...but it was drummed into me to acknowledge the kindness of others, and with a quick look, my girl knew what I was waiting for her to do. Manners these days almost seem like an affectation, an eccentricity...but I think when we use them,they go a long way to remembering our humanity and recognising the humanity in others. So...my old fashion values? Golden Rule - treat someone the way you would like to be treated. Please, thankyou, offering your seat, helping out. Your post is timely, this time of year is rushed and hectic, and manners/self awareness in situations like the one you described seem to be forgotten or considered not time efficient. Thanks for the read.