Generation Cedar

(My phone rings…)

“OK…here’s the thing…whatever happened to ‘excuse me’ could you please move?  This man at the gas station–he was obviously a tourist–was in the way of the truck and the guy in the truck just jumps out and starts yelling and cursing this guy to get out of the way.  What is that all about?”

My brother called for a morning rant about people who rant 😉  I said, “It’s ‘the right to rant’ I guess.  Then he gave me another example of how he had just been the victim of a similar rant (with his two small children in the car listening to all the profanity).  (Is it just in CO, where my brother lives?)

Does this seem to be an increasing incident?  And why?  Why are we so angry?  Why is no one allowed to make a traffic mistake, or just be “off” that day?

I remembered the last time my family piled into the van.  I heard two brothers saying “you move!” in a less-than-kind tone.  I stopped them…”Would you speak to someone like that at the grocery store who was in your way?  What makes you think it’s OK for your brother who you love?”

Deference.  Simple courtesy.  It’s becoming lost.  Do you blame parents?  Do you blame the “entitlement gospel” of our culture?  I’m not sure.  But I know as a parent, I don’t have to teach my children to be selfish.

“A child left to himself brings his mother shame.”

I DO have to work full time to teach them to defer to others (and is there anything better able to teach ME than my responsibility before them?  How many times have I been expounding passionately about their treatment of each other, “use gentle words”…when suddenly the Holy Spirit reminds me of my guilt?)  It’s probably what I spend the most time on throughout the day–backing them up and making them redo the tone, the demand, the attitude.

Courtesy is training the will to deny its immediate wants and rights for the sake of others–an unnatural trait for all of us, really.  So unless we have been diligently trained as we grow up, it’s a real struggle, especially within our own families where the social pressure isn’t as strong.

Courtesy is huge.  Perhaps it even has much to do with why we can’t keep our marriages together. Taken to the extreme, it could even save lives (road rage crime, anyone?)   Let’s be mindful as we raise our children to be courteous and praise Him for the opportunity to whittle away at our own selfishness.

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11 Responses

  1. This is the thing. We’ve forgotten how to be courteous at home. Plus, the tv shows don’t help. All they show is disrespect and we think it is funny.

    WE had a similar experience as your brother’s in New York City one summer. A lady, in an expensive car with a hair-do that had every hair in place, with a child in the back seat. She looked like a doctor’s wife, but was acting like a maniac just because the lanes narrowed down and she got cut off.

  2. Kelly,
    (And pardon me for mis-spelling your name in previous posts).
    Spot-on post!!! But the funny (read:sad) thing is that the only ones who will care about this are those who already are making an effort.

    We had a rude experience just yesterday. I was leaving the bakery with all four of my children, hands full of bags, and a very prominent pregnant belly. As I approached the glass door, the man on the other side made no effort whatsoever to open it for me, but one of my boys (who was already managing his little sister) scrambled to get the door open. Guess what? While the door was being held open by my son this guy entered himself! No thank you, either, he just brushed past my son!
    The best thing I can say about this situation is that it offered a “teaching moment.” This man was very well-groomed, very professional looking, but his selfish act erased all of that and showed him to be the immature person he really was inside.

  3. We experience a lot of road rage in the modest cities here in the Midwest. I know someone who gets angry anytime anyone turns left!
    Even for our own family it can be a problem of getting easily worked up while driving.
    Maybe it’s conditioning. Usually when we are driving somewhere we’re late, or in a hurry, so the slightest delays become huge inconveniences. Then when we aren’t in a hurry we (most times) are still driving like we are.
    We have to consciously make an effort to drive leisurely. And then you get honked at for that, too.

  4. Yeah… have you driven on 280 lately???? LOL
    I used to every day when I worked at HealthSouth (years ago). I went from *that* to here where people will actually stop in the middle of the road (endangering themselves because someone might smash into the back of them) to let you pass. It really is funny.

    I know what you mean… simple courtesy. It is Christ-like. A word of warning to anyone with the Christian fish on your bumper… live it!

  5. I agree with you Kelly common courtesy is a lost art… I, too find myself reminding my children that harsh words only hurt, but kindness can work wonders. Sadly I am reminded that it is my own actions that have taught my children to behave this way in the first place. It is sometimes hard to remember that they learn how to react by watching us.

  6. When we were in Hawaii, my family and I were on the public bus, and a pregnant lady with 2 toddlers came on the bus and nobody gave her their seat! I couldn’t believe it. Our family got up and gave her our seats and SHE couldn’t believe it!

  7. KB,

    That is just horrible! I haven’t run into adults that behave that way, but sometimes I do run into a teen (usually walking and texting at the same time) that is clueless. I suppose those teens will turn into that clueless adult.

  8. Oops. Sorry about that. I was saying, that we had an experience at lunch today that relates. We sat down in a quiet area of a restuarant and then a group of teenagers came in and sat at the next table. Before long I heard them talking about how ugly someone was and then they proceeded to make up some rap song about that person having an ugly face. Also one teen thought it was appropriate to get up and do some horrific dance to go with the song. I got so annoyed that my family decided to move to a different table away from the madness. Some kids just don’t use their brains these days to realize that their “creativeness”/ rudeness might be a turn off to someone else.

  9. People just seem too much in a hurry to be courteous or polite. While I was leaving Raley’s Supermarket yesterday, pushing my cart full of groceries to my car, there was a car in the parking lot backing out, and even though I was coming towards the car, they did not even stop. It is lucky for me that I was paying attention. Otherwise, I would have been eating asfault (sp) in the parking lot.

    I also agree with Mary’s comment about some of the tv programs viewed on the airways. The producers “make-fun” of people being rude and inconsiderate to others. I don’t watch these programs anymore, but I know of their existence.

    Lastly, what happened to KB was deplorable behavior on the part of the male adult! I know this isn’t very “Christian” but when I read that, I felt like popping that man on the head with a sock ball (which is two socks intertwined together) and saying, “Ahem. Pregnant lady present with children. Please wait before proceeding into store. Thank you.” Goodness!

  10. when I was pregnant with my first child and on bed rest my sister in law and her family came to stay a week with us.while my husband was at work I got up from the sofa to go to the bath room when I came back my sister in law had laid down on the couch and her children scrambled to sit in the remaining chairs that where unoccupied.Nobody said a word or offered to give me a place to sit.I still can’t believe it.

  11. Powerful, because it really isn’t just about the road rage, but about how we carry ourselves. We are such an undeserving people, expectant of others, and oblivious to how it teaches not just our kids, but others. I was babysitting the other day and the Mom, a friend of mine, was giving me instructions on what they were working on with their child in regards to behavior. She used the term ‘to prefer’ her friend, as in over herself. Wow! It was a teachable moment for me, as a parent and a Christian. Do I prefer others before myself? I can’t say I have mastered the art, but it was a awake up call and so is your post. Thank you for being willing to be led by the Holy Spirit! Blessings!

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