One thing my Mother taught me when I was growing up was manners. She taught me (and my brothers) to be especially respectful of authority (a subject for another blog or multiple blogs) and adults.
She taught me when an adult like my great aunt Grace (her aunt) addressed me I would acknowledge her and say "Thank you." My Mother especially stressed the "Thank you" part.
One thing I've notice since I've been an adult is that lesson apparently isn't being taught by many adults. In fact, I do not remember once instance in my adult life when I've been introduced to a child or introduced myself that they acknowledged me by using their vocal chords or even made eye contact with me. Occasionally I have mentioned, in a light hearted way of course God forbid I would criticize anyone parenting, to the adult the apparent rudeness of their child towards me. This also includes my many nieces and nephews (twenty four at last count) who have never acknowledged "Uncle Ronnie". The excuse the parent gives "Oh, he's (she's) shy." Okay, I can understand that, I was very shy when I was a toddler up and to including when I was a teenager. I didn't lose my shyness until I was in the Army for three years. That experience will erase shyness one would have, believe me. Again, a subject for another blog. I remember one such occasion with my grand-niece Lindsay. She was about ten years old, visiting my Mother with her father my nephew. She heard I was coming in the back door so she ran out of the front door. WHAT? My Mother said "Oh she's shy Ronnie." I think Lindsay is about 28 years old now. I've never had a conversation with her. One would thing I would because we're both gay, but no. She's a Facebook friend but no conversation. But then again, lesbians are another whole story, making a point of their disdain for men, uncles or otherwise.
So what brought about all this whining from me today? Earlier this evening I took two magazines over to my neighbor who has two little girls, aged about six and ten. We have lived next door for thirteen years. I've taken pictures of my neighbor (who is a school teacher) and her little girls on occasion. I collect their mail when they're on vacation. I've even supplied food during a rainstorm because the weather was too bad for mom to go out and get something to eat for her little girls. I'm consider myself a good neighbor and I'm glad I have them for neighbors because they keep a clean and neat place and the girls aren't Screamers (thank God, most little girls are Screamers which I can attest personally during our twenty-five year stay in our Pennsylvania home).
The magazines I took over are family magazines that are of no use to me. I asked my neighbor if she would like it when I got the first magazine last month. She liked it. So when I saw their van drive up from my home office window here I gathered up my magazines and went outside to intercept her before they went into their house. For the first time I came within three feet of the ten year old. I said "Hi Rylie!" She didn't even look at me, but just continued to take her backpack out of their van. I said again "Oh you must be Rylie". She turned her back to me and walked into their garage. The other daughter already had made her escape through the garage.
I walked up to the Mom and gave her the magazines. She thanked me (she's always so nice and friendly to me) and I walked away from them feeling like the creepy ugly old man neighbor. Perhaps I am being too sensitive. But perhaps not.
I have to admit I was hurt. It's not often I get my feelings hurt. In my seventy-seven years I've developed a pretty thick skin but every now and then someone pierces that thick skin. Today was such a day. But as my friend Pat often tells me, these are "First world problems." There is a lot worse going in the world today other than the rudeness of children. And please, don't anyone tell me "She's probably shy." It doesn't hurt to at least acknowledge someone when they speak to you. Ignoring them and just turning your back and walking away is not acceptable. I don't care how good your marks are in school and how many times you appear in the local newspaper as a winning athlete, learning basic etiquette is part of growing up. I'm so thankful my Mother taught me how to be respectful to others.
Thank you Mom.