Good Morning! or I’m Morphing into My Mother…whichever

First, thanks for the comments on the last post.  It’s great to hear from people who view the very same issues I’m concerned about from a different vantage point.  That’s the beauty of cyberspace.  Our world grows smaller and hopefully we become better people by having the chance to interact with folks we might otherwise pass by without saying a word.

Speaking of passing by without saying a word, I work near a high school in DC.  Whenever I park near the school and walk to my building I am annoyed by the fact that never, not once, has one of the kids said, “good morning” to me.  I was raised being elbowed in the ribs for failing to execute such courtesies automatically.  I expect the same of kids today.  I used to teach high school 11 years ago.  I remember loving high schoolers, but today I was wondering if I was really that far removed from them that I missed when they became rude, inconsiderate beasts at some point within 11 short years.  I certainly don’t remember them that way.

~Macarena~ called me on my shit in the comments to the last post, so I took it to heart this morning.  (While we do need to pick our battles, bigotry is one worth fighting and I really feel like I should have opened my mouth and said something about the “going Puerto Rican” comment in Georgia.)  So instead of shaking my head at these rude little beasts, this morning, I actually took the initiative to speak first.  Every kid I passed completely lit up, smiled and returned my greeting.   I guess they were probably thinking, “Damn, is this women even going to acknowledge that I am human and existing in the same space as she as she scampers off to her office?”  

 “…[W]e are responsible for our own fate, we reap what we sow, we get what we give, we pull in what we put out. I know these things for sure.” ~ Madonna, O Magazine, January 2004 

Each generation will reap what the former generation has sown.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Be the change you want to see in the world.



8 thoughts on “Good Morning! or I’m Morphing into My Mother…whichever

  1. I’m not feeling eloquent today, but I understand where you’re coming from. Some of our students looked at me crazy, the first time I said good morning to them. It is sad, isn’t it. I think we have really let the next generation down. I think we have failed them before they have even gotten a chance to start.

  2. “[C]alled me on my shit” seems harsh.

    I was totally going to suggest you speak first! I’m annoyed when I have to pass kids because…they’re there. I don’t know what my problem is. It reminds me of waiting for my own school buses and I don’t feel grown up, but I suspect that to them, I’m “that lady.” Anyway, I don’t know how people see you, but if they do see you as an adult, they might have thought it rude to speak to you uninvited, or, worse, that you’d think them rude just because they’re youngsters.

    I had a reputation for being quiet, and even now, I only speak first when I’m in a good mood, I like something about the person, or I just can’t pass up the chance to make the inane elevator comment that just sprang to mind. (I rarely do this w/ men.)

  3. I think more than likely, the kids are into their i-pods, cell phones, conversations with each other and crushes from afar and don’t even see you. Unless accosted by a parent or teacher, adults don’t generally register with teenagers, who have not been raised to be as polite as we were to begin with.

    It’s not personal. If you’re not part of their world, you don’t exist.

  4. Absolutely agree, and love this post.
    That picture is beautiful… the kids smiles and eyes are something else.

    I did this in Boston once… said good morning and smiled at every person I saw… it had an unusual (and mostly good) effect; I think courtesy and friendliness is being lost slowly in the face of technology. I ride a train sometimes and it makes me sad to see so many people in such close proximity who act as though they are completely alone. Cell phones, i-pods, and books… they disappear into their distraction and there is little conversation, it’s a lost art.

    You have such a wonderful way of putting heart, thought and soul into just the right words. I very much enjoyed being here, I will have to visit more often.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore (the lion)

  5. I am clapping for you out loud. I presently work with teen (well, yeah) I have great relationships with many teens. Almost every time a relationship started, I had to be the adult (imagine that) that took the risk of rejection. Teens face a kind of ism as well, seems we forget that they are just big kids dealing with a world that is so cruel to them. Many wish for the elbow in the side but someone would have to care. Thanks for being the kind elbow this morning and reminding our children that we are still human after all…

  6. The kids today are used to being transparent, but they are not silent. If a group of boys, lets say 3 teens are walking coming your way say something to you first, you might get a bit apprehensive, and think your going to be mugged. But if you instead say “Good morning guys”, they will smile, get all animated and say something back, generally like good morning or good morning mam.

    In an effort to protect society, we have grown into a confrontational society, and we actually try to reduce it, but we also remove ourselves from the society we are trying to protect.

  7. I remember a time where you had to show respect to your elders. I remember a time where elders actually took into consideration the thoughts of a child. Both generations have failed one another immensely. We have given birth to a generation of electronic babysitters…and then wonder why our children won’t talk to us.


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