Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Back to the old days...

Had a lovely signing today at Crooklands Garden Centre at Dalton. Read the "Guy and the Christmas Gargoyle" book to some children and made some sales which was nice. The staff kept me plied with drinks and it was all very cosy sitting close to the stove.

A dear old friend arrived to have a natter and a coffee and we were soon chatting away. Inevitably, we talked about children-both being ex-teachers...not quite in the Monty Python "ex-parrot" sense but close enough! I commented on the interest of some of the children who came to get books today and how nice it was to see children keen on reading. My friend said she had encountered a number of children with parents in a local Pound shop-on a half term outing! She could not believe how unruly and rude they were and compared them to how we were when we were young. I am not advocating returning to the halcyon days of the 70s with its left over remnant of post war discipline-but really...what is wrong with a bit of respect?

I am sure there is a difference, certainly in what is permissible these days-it seems to be a grab all, I want sort of society, in which nobody wants to wait for anything even for a minute! I know it sounds old fashioned but what are the parents doing? As a teacher I was sometimes astonished at parent's attitudes-and had to end up by defending my decision for punishing their child for the poor behaviour.

A lot is said about respect these days and it reminds me of when I was at the Grammar school-which had a strict hierarchy and regime-with prefects and the like. As timid first years we were in awe of the Sixth forms and prefects and looked forward to the days when we were able to take on that responsibility. However, by we reached Sixth form Prefects had been eradicated and we all had "equal responsibility"-this was the 70s-and it became an ineffective wishy washy sort of power. Indeed one day the door to the Sixth Form study crashed open and two first years stood there demanding attention for something-shouting aggressively across the room-quite intimidating us. I don't know if we were especially wimpy-but we all mused about how tough and bolshie the kids were today!

By the time I began teaching children seemed to have taken on a radical defiance and many bore no respect for grown ups. This is commonplace now-there is little respect for anyone in authority-teachers, police...adults...in fact the lack of respect translates through many adults too. It seems that many people appear to have little empathy for their fellow man and are more concerned in "things" and status. It matters not that you reach the sage old age of 56- frequently you are dismissed as irrelevant and considered over weaning and ridiculous when you share your life experience and knowledge. Disappointing really- seem to be back in the Sixth Form-your experience is not required, your opinions rubbished and worse still they smile, cajole and patronisingly call you "hun".

Must be getting old...starting to sound like a grumpy old woman!

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