Where have your manners
Gone? I think you have lost them
Somewhere down the line.
Has anyone else noticed an odd thing about etiquette books? They’re all written keeping adults in mind. As in, they’re written for adults.
I don’t really understand this. Most adults I’ve met have lovely manners. I’ve yet to meet an adult who, on opening a present, bursts into tears and says, “But I already have a PS3!” Or ask an adult to hand you an eraser – they never put it behind their back and say, “Guess which hand?” It makes me think that Amy Vanderbilt or Emily Post weren’t serious about their writing. Had they been, they would have focused on the real trouble, people below twelve. Of course, this is just generalizing. You can plus or minus a few years here and there according to your convenience.
I am well aware that small children have this attractive force that makes most people like them. But do they like them socially? Are they sought after guests? Think of it this way, when you find yourself in a large party/crowd/whatever, do you subconsciously gravitate to where the children are playing Spy under the table? I believe not.
In absence of an instructive book on the same and with firsthand experience of a younger sibling, I feel qualified enough to lay out a few rough guidelines. (Anyone who decides to publish an instructive guide will doubtlessly benefit from my observations. Hence I claim 25% royalties).
Peaceful coexistence with others, particularly other children. Children should not hit other children over the head with a Kindle, basketball, plate or any other instrument. It does not matter who started it, or even if the provocation was a threat to tattle to mother about the time you accidentally squirted all her face cream down the sink. Also, children must not, in any case destroy property of others. The tearing up of assignments due the next day just because they had to watch Courage The Cowardly Dog instead of Scooby Doo should be especially punished.
Respect for the feelings of others. I think the main reason children can be such social lemons is because they keep saying things like, “When do you think that old lady’ll die?” Of course children cannot be taught subtleties, but really. When their nervous wreck of an elder sibling is going to a party in her new dress, it is not the time to say, “I want my Halloween costume too!”
Respect for others property. Children should keep in mind, that no matter how foolish it seems, sometimes people get attached to material things. Maybe this is just me, but I have a feeling that there would be much less broken homes if children would stop trading beloved wristwatches for that cool new set of sparkle pens at the schools local black market playground. The blatant taking of clothes from others wardrobes without bothering to inform, let alone take permission, is utterly reprehensible. They must bear in mind how disconcerting it is for the owner of the clothes to get out of the bath with fifteen minutes left for class and their best clothes gone. On some rare occasions though, you may understand the logic behind waking up tangled in a whole ball of yarn because the child simply had to know how long the yarn was compared to you. I can understand that. Sort of.
But sometimes, you just don’t know what to say. Like when you overhear you clothes nabbing younger sibling talking to her friend, “I know! Isn’t this top great? It’s my sister’s!”
Well, if you come down to it, I suppose it was worth wearing that threadbare shirt to class.
NOTE: All events mentioned above have at some point happened to the author. Also the haiku attempt in the beginning was because of an awesome blogger over at Only Fragments who writes kickass haiku.