Is it TOO much to ask that we respect the people around us?? I have been told more than once that I expect TOO MUCH from others - be it fairness, kindness, thoughtfulness, respect, etc. For example, when driving, I try to be considerate and kind to those around me. Example - if someone is trying to turn into the lane I am in, or across my lane and it is both safe for them to do so, and they have their turn signal on (most people do not seem to know what these little things are here in the South...), then I will allow them to turn in front of me, or stop so they can get past me. I DO expect a wave, and nod, or SOMETHING that says "hey, thanks". MANY times I am disappointed, and much like Jerry Seinfeld, I am left asking "Where's my wave??". Ok, so as usual, I digress.
But in the case I am about to mention, I think ANYONE would have expected a little more respect/kindness/etc. Let me set the scene. I was at my dermatologists today to check a little mole-thingy looked at (turned out A-ok), and 2 doors down in the same building was a geriatrics’ doctor's office. As I was stepping outside my doctor's office to finish my coffee (so as not to break the NO FOOD/DRINKS rule in the waiting room) I saw a man and an older woman coming out of the old-people's doctor's office. The man was young enough I took him to be the woman's son. She was quite elderly, and needed some help to the car. The ENTIRE TIME I stood outside drinking my coffee the man was berating the woman. She was too slow. She was too frail. She was talking too much. Why won’t you shut up? (the man went on, voice getting louder and louder). I am so sick of hearing you talk. Shut-up. Shut-your mouth...
You get the idea. I was so horrified I was struck dumb. (I know, I know, NO ONE has ever seen this happen to me before, but its true. Me. Stuck dumb...). I wanted to storm over and insist the man treat (what I assumed was) his mother with more respect. At the VERY LEAST, treat her like a human being. However, by the time I finally decided to say something, they were far enough away I would have had to run over to them, and they were about in the car already, so I stayed put. I was walking back to the door to my doctor’s when another person came up behind me and said “I hope that wasn’t his mother! He was being just awful to her!” I agreed of course, and we actually spoke briefly about how sad it was to have witnessed such an event. I did mention, however, that regardless of whether or not it was actually his mother, NO ONE should be spoken to like that. NO ONE. It mad me angry, AND it made me sad. So many cultures treat their elders with the utmost respect, and in fact, part of the issue in China with having boys is so the boys will grow-up to take care of his aging parents. The aging parents are SO respected and are SO expected to be cared for, families will give-up their daughters so they can have boys to take care of them...(I’m of course, over-simplifying here, so you purists can just accept that). But why is it in our culture (and by this I mean AMERICA) we prefer to treat our elders as well, as a burden and as lepers?
I am sure no one reading my modest little blog would do that, but we all know people who would. Is it our parents that teach us that behavior? Did this man truly despise his mother so much that he treated her this way (and IN PUBLIC! Imagine how he treats her at home!!). It makes me wonder about the school shootings (recent and not-so-recent); did these children never learn to be kind and compassionate towards others? To respect LIFE, and the lives around them?? What kind of people were these PARENTS?? I hope to teach my daughter to not only respect her parents and her family, but her elders, her friends, her classmates, and ESPECIALLY HERSELF as well.