Last Saturday was McHappy Day across Australia. I was always sceptical of this “fundraiser” as it was my belief that only $2 from every Big Mac sold went directly towards Ronald McDonald Charities, however it turns out that a lot more money raised on the day actually goes towards the charity. Of course I still believe that the money raised should not come from one specific burger, but that’s another story – if you know a little about me, you’ll also be wondering why I was even in a McDonalds store.
Anyway I have completely diverted, I was at our local McDonalds as my daughter was performing her song and dance routine with a group from school. Whilst I was sitting waiting for her to go on another mother came along and sat her daughter down and told her to reserve the seats around her whilst the mother went in to the store to purchase some food items (and I use the term loosely). Upon her return the mother sat down and two other children also appeared, the mother placed her hand into the brown paper bag and proceeded to hand out products wrapped in paper to each child, plus a drink for all concerned. She complacently handed out the food and drinks, they complacently took the food and drinks. They all sat down and began to eat and drink.
You may be asking what is the point of this article? Well, I’m going to ask you – what is missing in this exchange?
Do you know yet? Have you worked out why this exchange made me a little bit sadder for the future?
Let me give you a clue, it starts with m and rhymes with tanners.
Yes, that’s right – manners, or in this case, lack of. I know that I have written about manners in a previous article, but really it’s not hard. This exchange, well actually, it wasn’t even really an exchange, it was just simply mum on auto-pilot handing out crap, kids on auto pilot taking the crap; no thought process necessary here at all.
I know that I am over the top when it comes to situations like the one I mentioned, I would be silently calculating grams of fat and sugar whilst working out the healthier choice from a range of options that don’t really hold any healthy choices. My behaviour would be anything but on auto pilot!
So my question is, are we just setting our kids on auto pilot and not expecting anything back from them? Are we allowing them to step all over us? Are we role modelling disrespect? Do we pander to children’s every want and therefore contribute to creating an expectant generation? Are we asking too much just to get a simple thank you when we have done something for our children – I don’t think so!