Sunday, March 16, 2014

Respect Your Elders !?!

Something we have all been taught.  But there are moments when I truly believe it does not apply.

On a recent visit to the doctor my daughter proceeded to exit the car while a couple of cars away so did a lady I would guess to be in her late 50s, early 60s.  Ally stood waiting for us to come with her meanwhile so did the older lady.  As they both proceeded to go, Ally said,  "I'm sorry" (assuming the lady would like to go first) and waited for a couple of seconds.  When the lady didn't go Ally decided obviously she wasn't ready and started to walk toward the building.  At this time I walked up and told the lady to go first.  She huffed, waved her hand and said "No you go."   I thanked her and tried to catch up with Ally.

Behind me in a loud disgusted voice I hear the same lady say, "Some people nowadays!"  I was shocked.  What the hell!!  I would have let it go, but neither Ally nor I were being disrespectful and although being a in a good mood, it started my blood boiling.   I turned around and said, "I would have let you go first."  She of course wouldn't look me in the eye and says,"I wasn't referring to you."

I held the door open for her despite my urge to slam it in her face and said, "She would have let you go first.  She's not like that."  Nothing obviously was going to get to her because she continued to avoid my eye contact and said, "Whatever."  On top of all that she proceeded to go to the front desk and talk about us to the nurses. 

At this point I knew there was nothing I could say to convince her otherwise than my daughter was a disrespectful teenager.  Now there is no such thing as a perfectly behaved teenager but I have raised my child to hold doors for others, give chairs to people who can't stand for long periods and respect their elders on a whole.

Once alone and in the doctor's office, I said to Ally, "That is why we always let seniors go first." She replied with, "But Mom I said she could go first and when she didn't do anything I figured she wanted me to go." At this point I realized, the woman more than likely just didn't hear her and yet immediately jumped to the conclusion that Ally was rude to her.

How at this point can I convince my daughter who has done exactly what I have taught her that EVERY senior is deserving of her respect.  (Or everyone in general for that matter)  She looked absolutely confused and upset to the fact that this complete stranger would verbally attack her for a simple misunderstanding.

Ally and her G-Ma (as Ally calls her)  One of her favorite people in the entire world
This situation did however teach me something very valuable.  On a whole we are quick to assume the worst when little things like this happen; someone cuts in front of you at the grocery store, doesn't wave when you let them into your lane, or possibly a misunderstood few words uttered at an inappropriate time.  Either way, I have made a conscious effort to no longer jump the gun and assume that they meant to do it intentionally,  because the look on my daughter's face in that moment made me realize that people's reactions will also help determine whether they deserve my respect or not.

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