Monday 12 December 2011

That's Handy, Harry

Within Puddlecote Towers, there is nothing more preached to the little Ps than basic manners. So much so, that I sometimes catch myself employing hyperbole in making the case for their avoiding being irritating arseholes of the future.

A case in point occurred on Saturday when the boy had unthinkingly transgressed one of Mrs P's golden rules during the day. After dinner, while the kids tucked into a pudding which has probably terrorised Tam Fry in his nightmares, I forensically described an apocalyptic view of his life chances if he continued to treat others without respect.

I laid it on thick, too. He's a good kid generally but - to be frank - he 'lost it' for a while and was pretty rude. To peals of laughter from the 'girls' (and from him, to be fair), I went into a polemic about how he would end up unemployable and stuck in some cockroach infested slum if he didn't get his manners embedded.

Even though I say so myself, it was a work of art. Off the top of my head, I threw in references to rude people we knew, pointed out that even if they were employed, their jobs were dreary, involved exceptionally hard work (something I know kids to find abhorrent), and made the highly unscientific link between that and a future whereby living on a park bench would be a distinct possibility if he didn't buck his ideas up. All laced with a liberal sprinkling of over-the-top humour, a couple of caricatured voice impressions, and the odd funny walk around the table.

Anyway, he got the point but was perhaps sceptical about how manners were really that important. Well, I hope so, anyway, as I'd hate to think he would just believe me without looking for proof himself.

Fortunately in that regard, a life lesson materialised the very next day which could almost have been staged by me, it was so perfect. Equally unscientific, but not in the eyes of a 10 year old.

After finishing the last bits of Christmas shopping, we had treated ourselves to a KFC lunch {waves to Jamie bastard Oliver} before heading home. Despite empty tables around us being littered with finished meals which people couldn't be arsed to throw into the bins, we did exactly that and exited. Just by chance - or because he's the smallest, I dunno - the boy was last out and held the door open for four twenty-something girls who were leaving at the same time, and who I initially thought were together.

The first two breezed past him without even acknowledging he was there, to his visible annoyance. The third and fourth smiled, said thank you, and held the door so he could leave having done his duty.

The ignorants then turned right on exiting and wandered off towards the crappy end of town, effing and blinding as they went, before stopping for a conversation with two slack-jawed berks with their trousers halfway down their underpants.

By contrast, the other two turned left, stopped briefly to look in the First Choice shop next door, audibly talking about where they had booked for their respective summer holidays and - as was exhibited by the sleeve logos we hadn't noticed previously - headed back to gainful employment at the town's higher class department store after their lunch break.

I looked at him, he looked at me. I said "Y'see?". He nodded in silent understanding.

Parenting is easy when life throws you a biscuit like that.


Trooper Thompson said...

Excellent lesson for the young man. However...

"audibly talking"

Is there any other kind?

Nick said...

You lucky Devil! I fully understand though. It gives me a warm glow to hear my 2 Girls say Thank You when they receive their food from a Waitress or on leaving a friends house. It costs nothing and reaps rewards.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Trooper: Not very well put, I grant you. That's the tabloid in me. ;)

To clarify, I meant that we could hear the detail.

david said...

Looks like you're doing something right....though I hope you don't let him see you smoking - tantamount to child abuse.;)

Cautionary note: don't forget to warn him about feminists - nowadays courtesy towards women is often regarded as patronising.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully due to an excellent
family and non state education
my manners and respect for others
kept me in good measure untill
a few years ago (2007)
Then the powers that be ,condoned
by my fellow citizens,decided I should be treated like a stray dog
ie forced to stand in dirty backyards because I smoke a cigarette
So now I have joined the rest of
East Manchester low life,no
respect for anyone or anything.
Treat people like shit,shit is
what you will get. As for all the
nice ,compliant,decent folk who keep their heads down, they are no
different than the "law abiding"
1930's German citizen who pulled his curtains over when his neighbour was dragged away.
Wait for the ricochet!!!!!!

Still standing,unbowed

nisakiman said...

Ah, quite so. Manners maketh man.

I never really found it too difficult instilling basic good manners in any of my kids. I think a lot of the learning comes by example. I'm happy to say that all my progeny - two (Australian) sons (39 & 36) and two (English) daughters (30 & 23) - are people I could take anywhere with confidence. When I get my invitation to Buck House to receive my OBE for services to the oppressed smoking community, I know they can accompany me and not let me down.

Not only that, but sons and eldest daughter are bringing their kids up with the same standard of manners as they were taught. Most gratifying.

And it does matter. As you point out, DP, good manners cost nothing, but they can reap unexpected rewards.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with 'audibly talking', Dick. If you see your friends at the other end of the street, wagging their mouths at each other, you can infer that they are talking, even though you may not be able to hear them. So, if there exists inaudible talking, there surely also exists audible talking.

TheFatBigot said...

When I hold open a door to ease the ingress or egress of another it is rare for there not to be a smile, nod or word of gratitude.

On the rare occasions that my kindness is ignored I say "not at all, don't mention it", quite loudly. It usually results in embarrassed blushes and, more often than you might think, a belated apology and thank you. More troublingly, sometimes it elicits no reaction at all.

Idiot Hat Guy said...

"Within Puddlecote Towers, there is nothing more preached to the little Ps than basic manners" - a likely story! Given your status as a rightwing white European male, I think we all know you inculcate EEEVIL day in, day out.


Anonymous said...

@ David "Cautionary note: don't forget to warn him about feminists - nowadays courtesy towards women is often regarded as patronising"

May I suggest the following prepared response.

"I am sorry, I was always taught that ladies should be treated with respect, my apologies for the confusion"

It usually takes them about three seconds to work it out and wonder if they should be outraged....