What Ever Happened to Good Manners?
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tuesday night was the first grader's performance. The theme was "This is America" and there were patriotic songs, a slideshow, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Everybody said the "Under God" part - this is the South after all!

I was appalled by the manners (or rather, lack thereof) that I saw.

There are 16 1st grade classes. The program was such that all of the children sang a song together, then a group of four classes sang a song, the next group of four sang, and so on. So, 5 songs all together, plus somebody's mother sang a solo about crying American tears that may have been a little inappropriate for a first grade program, but at least she was on key and sounded good.

The first thing that really bothered me was, the way people were dressed. They looked like they had just stopped in from a long day of gardening. Many wore flip flops, one was even in slippers. Somebody's mom had a head full of curlers. I can't imagine what she was thinking - she'll wear the curlers to a concert, then when she gets home her hair will be perfectly set to watch Leno?

It was crowded, as always, with not enough parking, as always. Some bright folks in the office scheduled a Parent Book Fair night for the entire school at the same time as the 1st grade concert, so parking spots were a hot commodity. No worries, around here everyone parks on the grass.

It was standing room only in the auditorium/cafeteria/gymnasium. And there were several pregnant women, women holding babies, and grandmothers standing while there were several more menfolk and older teenagers slouching on the cafeteria benches.

Is chivalry dead? Have we lost all courtesy, so that we don't even see or think about those more in need, more infirm, than ourselves? I muttered inwardly when one family (Dad, Mom, kid) who refused to scoot down the bench, forcing a pregnant woman to try to shimmy past them to reach a precious, vacant seat.

The real kicker, though, came later. After the first set of children finished their song, their parents stood up and left. There was an awkward intermission has mutters of "OK, he's done, let's get out of here" echoed through the gym. Not just one parent, but an exodus of adults with no respect for the other performers up and left. They were still gathering their things and shuffling out the door when the second group started performing. Of course, Mr P was in the last group - but I would have stayed until the end even if he wasn't. I never would have walked out on six year olds who are just learning to perform in public! After each song, approximately one fourth of the audience just up and left - regardless of what was going on, if the principal was telling us about the new reading program (they interspersed PTO minutes between sets), if there were small children reciting patriotic poetry.

Am I just old fashioned? Are such manners not required, or even encouraged anymore? None of the men or boys removed their hats, either, except for the military ones. I guess they still teach that down at the Navy base.

Parents, do you teach your kids manners? Do you teach your sons to open doors and give up their seats? Or am I the only one?
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 2/08/2007 07:54:00 AM | Permalink | |