Service of Thoughtless Actions and Words

December 30th, 2021

Categories: Bad behavior, Big Mouth, Children, Kindness, Manners, Thoughtless Behavior, Upbringing


Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

I’ve opened my big mouth at times off-putting others, though I try so hard not to. A friend reprimanded me, after we moved to Manhattan from Brooklyn, because I told him that our apartment was on “the wrong side of Park Avenue.” He said I sounded arrogant. And I despise arrogance.

I witnessed a woman who didn’t think when she sailed out of the hair salon last week, wishing all and sundry a Merry Christmas following up in a voice that could have been heard across the street saying “Gotta run: I’m off to get my hair cut.” When I asked the salon owner if she thought the customer noticed people cutting hair all around her she shrugged and said “she gets her manicures here.”

The owner shared an incident that did broil her about a customer with severely dry hair. She showed her three products that would reverse the problem and explained how and when to use them. “Let me photograph them so I can buy them on Amazon,” said the customer who knew that the salon also sold the products. The owner added that Amazon didn’t have all the experience she’d shared with the woman and admitted that she didn’t say this to her.

A friend who owns a New England shop told me that a customer walked in recently, looked around and said, “Is this all there is?” Another day she found a 30-something photographing her greeting cards. “I want to text the images to my friends,” she said. The shop owner asked the woman to stop. Did the potential customer [who bought nothing] think she was in a museum?

mage by kaleido-dp from Pixabay  haircut

We’ve come a long way from the days my mother asked me to take supermarket groceries home before buying the bread my dad liked at the neighborhood deli. [Supermarket bread tasted like cotton.] She explained that it was rude to enter a business with purchases from another.

You be the judge if the point of Melinda Wenner Moyer’s New York Times article is pertinent to the subject. It was Thanksgiving, she wrote, and her seven year old ordered her grandfather, whom she rarely saw, to “stop taking pictures and put down your camera.” 

Wenner Moyers wrote: “Children who feel comfortable challenging their parents or grandparents about rules and expectations, who occasionally say sassy or rude things, are, in essence, kids who know they are loved and accepted for who they are.”

At the end of the article she added “Do I wish my daughter had been more polite in asking her grandpa to put down his camera? Absolutely. But I’m also proud that she’s brave enough to advocate for herself, and that she knows she has a voice within our family.”

It was fun to read the comments linking to this article “Why Your Kid’s Bad Behavior May Be a Good Thing: The safer children feel, the more they can show their true selves — warts and all — experts say. And that’s good for their development.” I didn’t read them all but starting at the top, many expressed concern about the kind of adults these children will turn out to be.

Do you think there’s a connection between unfiltered words and actions and upbringing or is it more of a personality thing? Have you witnessed thoughtless speech or behavior?  Do you agree that a child’s bad behavior is a positive thing and is good for their development?

7 Responses to “Service of Thoughtless Actions and Words”

  1. ASK Said:

    Sorry, rude behavior is rude behavior even if it’s done under the guise of “speaking up” for yourself or a cause you believe in. Ms Moyers’ child simply showed a lack of respect for her grandfather. (Did the shocked grandfather say anything in rebuttal?) The kid could have said the same thing in a polite and more mannerly fashion, but politeness and manners are obviously not something that Ms. Moyers’s daughter is learning at home. Which is probably why there are so many rude and inconsiderate people walking the streets and posting to social media.

    It’s unfortunate about the hairdresser and the card-shop owner, but in this business climate, business owners are probably willing to put up with clueless, rude customers. The card thief should have been told about copywright laws!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    You are right and most in service businesses are in the same spot–to smile and look for new clients/customers if a situation becomes outrageous, if that’s possible.

    We aren’t born polite. By seven a child should know how to make a point in a polite way. Mom and Pop’s job. “Oh grandpa, did you know I don’t like my photo taken?” followed by a hug would be more appropriate. Aren’t parents concerned that nobody will want to be around their children? Other kids often knock sense into the worst kids but why put a child through that torture?

  3. Kathleen Said:

    Remember what my mother said, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” But children are like sponges they take in everything, so one needs to act in ways for kids to imitate. And adults! Dreadful to want to photo of another shop.
    Happy, healthy 2022.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Kathleen,

    Spot on–but in addition, someone must advise a child if he/she speaks in an unkind or nasty way to anyone–adult, relative or friend. The child may have seen the snarky behavior on TV or on the Internet or they may imitate a friend or classmate. There are ways to say negative things in a positive way or to keep some thoughts to oneself.

  5. lucrezia Said:

    Few if any have escaped making an unintentional gaffe which has bruised feelings. Many are understood to be just that and are promptly forgiven. Others may cost friends and/or have lifetime repercussions. Unfortunate and painful as it may be, it’s a good policy to be contrite, then self-forgiving with intentions to think before acting.

    There is never an excuse for deliberate insensitivity. Witness the outrage and disgust caused by the deluge of insulting/demeaning statements emanating from the White House for four painful years. Hopefully the public will be able to force that element back into the gutter where it belongs.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I attribute name-calling and demeaning statements to laziness. It’s easier to tell someone “You’re a moron,” than to take the time to spell out what your findings have indicated is flawed about their claim. I suspect many citizens, who blindly align themselves on one or the other side of the political aisle, haven’t a clue about why they say they believe what they do.

  7. Eileen Dover Said:

    I believe it starts at home and your mother taught you well. Many parents are poor examples for their children. I’ve told my daughter it’s harder to be nice than it is to be nasty, and she should take the time and make that extra “effort” to be nice! Some people seem to be too busy and self absorbed to even realize that they’re being nasty!

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