Yahoo has promulgated a list of manners that it insists all children should know and abide by.

Many of these such as saying “please” and “thank you” or sending a “thank you note” are important courtesies.  Others are simply a reminder just how much certain adults despise children.

Some of these serve no other purpose than to condition the individual into docility so as to be easier to control as adults.

For example, though a child ought to be trained to express their dislike of something in a polite manner,  rule number six insists that “the world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.”

Are adults so delicate that their world is going to be shattered should they hear that a child doesn’t like something?  If society is that weak, no wonder the Muslims are about to take over.

Furthermore, if this is harped upon as an absolute, at what age does it end?

As an adult, might the person forced to live by this dictum then develop an inhabitation to speak out against anything imposed upon them by a self-appointed authority figure?

Most dictatorial regimes view governing institutions as the adults and the citizen or subject in the role of the child.

If one never speaks up to vocalize what is commonly referred to as a complaint, how will things ever change or improve?

Adults should try to get children to eat a healthy variety of foods, but there are some items you are just never going to like. I will have to pretty much be on death’s door before I’ll eat beets.

So if a child is never to inform an adult as to a food that the child does not like, should the child’s gag reflux be adversely stimulated, will the adult clean up the regurgitation likely to result?  Or will the child be duly beaten and told what a wretched example of original sin and unwillingness to submit to authority that they are?

Parents that insist upon slavish adherence to what has been agreed upon as good manners that force their children to consume all kinds of rotgut swill underaged taste buds and digestive tracts aren’t accustomed to should not be shocked fifty years from now when Junior or Sally are eager to toss them in the cheapest nursing home they can find and never look back.

I just might be rude. Some things I simply refuse to eat.   Since you’re not going to be there in the middle of the night holding my hand as I attempt to soak away a stomach cramp in hot water at 2 am, I don’t really care how offended you are I didn’t eat the slop you consider a culinary masterpiece that will no doubt taste as bad coming up as it did going down.

I one time remember reading a Gospel tract that the young Christian was obligated to eat whatever any authority figure put on their plate in order to prepare them for their future careers on the mission field.  Newsflash: though it is a sacrilege to say so in some circles of Fundamentalist education, not everyone is called to go to the foreign mission field, especially if you can’t stand the site or smell of what the savages stick in their mouths.  Besides, most of them want to come to America now anyway where we have decent tasting food.

My great grandfather use to threaten my grandmother that, if she or her siblings didn’t eat something, he was going to shove it down their throats himself. So don’t tell me the parents of centuries past were by default superior to the parents now.

As a society, we’ve gone too far into permissiveness, but neither is an overcorrection something to be desired.  Treating your children with respect  and dignity is the best guarantor that they will emulate these qualities in the years and decades to come.

by Frederick Meekins

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