drama queens, Uncategorized

Drama Queens

Drama queens…..we all know them.  Some of us may admit to being one.  Some of us are drama kings.  I’ve even heard my 6 and 7 year old students call each other drama queens.  I’ve heard people proclaim, “I hate drama!” while they are in the thick of creating a dramatic thunderstorm.  Men claim that women are more dramatic, but I’ve been around plenty of men who create their own drama.  Some people really seem to thrive on it, whether they are creating it in their own lives, or creating it in someone else’s.  I think to some extent, we have all probably been guilty of that, especially as children, but there comes a time to let go of that.  There are also different levels of dramatic behavior. Some dramatic behavior is less harmful than others.

I think that a lot of people create drama for attention.  They have a need for attention, and if they aren’t getting it, they will create something to draw attention to themselves.  I think others really enjoy creating havoc in someone else’s life, and like watching people either hurt or scramble to pick up the pieces.  That takes me back to middle and high school, with the girls, and talking about each other, flirting with each other’s boyfriends, etc.  Fortunately, I had some pretty good friends growing up, and there wasn’t much of that.  Most of us are still very close and supportive of each other.

But where does the need to dramatize, or stir up trouble come from?  Why is it a thrill for some people to try to “win,” cause trouble, or hurt each other?  We see it in politics, hear about it through the gossip of Hollywood, see it in the workplace, or within our own families and friends.  Is it to get people to like us, or pity us?  Why is it satisfying to intentionally hurt people?  Is it learned, or are we born with a “mean gene?”  Is it about competition?  Is it about attention?  Is it just human nature?  I had an employer once who got involved in the employees’ personal lives, and even started rumors about which employees might be dating!  It didn’t matter that one of them might be married!  She just found joy in stirring up trouble, all the while proclaiming, “I hate drama!”  WHY?!

I am one of those who truly does hate drama, and tends to keep to myself in order to avoid it.  I actually feel sick to my stomach if I find myself in the middle of it! Why can’t people be nice?  We all have our differences, and that’s what makes this a beautiful world.  But no one needs to be mean, cruel, or create problems for others for entertainment purposes or for attention.  No one.  I have found myself in tense or dramatic situations, and because I’m a “doormat,” I say nothing and let it eat at me.  If, however, I see someone else being treated unfairly, bullied, or laughed at, just to satisfy a drama queen’s thirst for creating havoc, I will put a stop to it.  My fuse tends to be much slower when it comes to myself, but that only lasts for so long……maybe I will write about that another time.

I’ve heard that people create their own drama in their lives, but I don’t believe that is the case all of the time.  I believe that some people create their own drama, and if that’s what makes them thrive, then that’s ok….as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.  The rest of us are just doing the best we can, trying to be nice and compassionate to each other, facing each day, and what it brings.

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Doormat, Loyalty, Self respect, Uncategorized

Nice to Meet You….I’m a Doormat

Have you ever known a doormat?  Some of us are doormats.  I believe it’s a choice to be this way, but a lot of my problem is that I was brought up to be nice, and non- confrontational, not doing anything to embarrass myself or family, or show any anger. Sometimes I really wish I could stand up for myself more without being looked at as a bitch.  I tend to stand up for others a lot faster than I do for myself.  I am fiercely loyal and protective of those I love, and will stop at nothing to defend or protect them.  However, when it comes to standing up for myself, I’m a doormat.

I am extremely sensitive, which can be a strength and a weakness.  I can hurt for others, and feel their pain, but I also get my own feelings hurt pretty easily, especially when I try so hard to be a good person, and be compassionate to others.  The difference is that when I hurt for someone else, I attempt to reach out, console, or comfort them.  That’s just the way I am.  I can’t let someone suffer with sadness, anger, grief, or guilt without attempting to help them.  I believe this is one of the reasons I’m a good teacher…..I feel for the struggling student. But when I get my own feelings hurt, I need the same type of compassion and comfort, and there aren’t a lot of people who can see it in me because I suppress it, and hold in that pain, so as not to be selfish or embarrass myself. Believe me, those scars run very deep! I don’t want to make situations worse, so I keep my mouth shut.  Sometimes it comes out as sarcastic humor, or self deprecating humor.  That’s a defense mechanism I learned early, which I discussed in an earlier blog, in trying to entertain everyone.  Then I go home and cry because of the pain.

I realize that suppressing hurt is not a healthy trait to have.  My parents were both worriers, and it affected their health.  I’m afraid I got a double dose of it.  I’ve always wanted to make others feel good about themselves, be supportive, show an interest, cheer them up, make them laugh, and even if they have been hurtful to me (to my face or behind my back), I still treat them with respect and kindness.  I might tell a funny story about my escapades, or make people laugh to hide any hurt I might feel.  I know that being nice is the right thing to do, but it sometimes makes me mad that I allow words or actions of others to hurt me, and I don’t say anything.  Some would say I need a backbone.  If I were a man, I’d be told to “grow a pair.” I’ve been told to stop being a doormat.  I have stood up for so many people over the years, and all I want is for others to stand up for me when I need it (or deserve it).  I need a “me” to stand up for me!

I can count on a few people to stand up for me, and I’m fortunate to have them.  They know my heart and my struggles. They know how tender my heart is, how much I would do for others, and how much I value the positive happy things in life…..the beauty in our world, and always looking for the good people in it.  Maybe someday I will stop being a doormat, and learn to love myself as much as I love those around me.

Be Happy, Happiness, Married to My Best Friend, Passion for Living, Relationships, Uncategorized

Happiness is…..Wherever You Find It

What makes us happy?  What are we passionate about?  Recently, my pastor made the statement that you “can’t teach passion.”  He was talking about ministry, but I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement, and how it applies to our happiness, and where we find our happiness.  Is it truly from within?  Without some type of outside influence, we may not find our happiness, whether it’s our jobs, our children or grandchildren, a hobby, or significant other.  Can we be happy just to exist without others, books, art, pets, music, entertainment, or writing? Some people find their happiness in making others miserable, and that’s something I don’t understand.  I’ve spent time being unhappy or unsure of things in my life.  Haven’t we all?  Yet, the last few years I have felt more confident and sure of myself, and my place in the world.  I believe I am much more kind than I used to be.  I would have to attribute that to the love I have for my husband, and strength we draw from each other to be better people.

I had a “friend,” a few years ago, who I will refer to as Olive.  Olive was a very unhappy person, and was in an unhappy marriage.  She and I worked together, and really hadn’t known each other for very long.  Because Al had not yet moved here, and Olive was in a bad marriage, we had time to go to lunch or movies together, or hang out occasionally. If you know me, you know that I keep my circle of friends very small and personal.  I have a lot of friends that have been my friends for most of my life, and I don’t let too many people in my “bubble.”  My friends are spread about throughout the United States from all of the places I’ve lived.  I prefer to keep it that way because I don’t like the cattiness and competition that a lot of women practice.  I don’t like the gossipy, manipulative, controlling ways of a lot of women.  I don’t trust easily because of this, so even going to lunch and movies with Olive was venturing outside of my comfort zone in the friend area.  I witnessed her be rude and catty to other women, and it made me uncomfortable.  She enjoyed telling people what to do in their personal and professional lives, and came across as very bossy.

After Al moved here, he and I were spending our time building our relationship.  We had taken a long time to build a friendship, and then move into a committed relationship. We had both spent time being unsure of ourselves, and our places in the world, and had made the commitment to be together because we made each other happy.  It was time.  Olive did not like this one bit, and was very jealous.  She was still in a very unhappy marriage, and was jealous of Al, and our commitment to each other.  We are now in our 50’s.  We don’t know how much time we will have together in this lifetime. We want to enjoy what time we have.  We had both had failed marriages, and had learned from our mistakes.  Our focus is, and was, on each other, and building our future together.  Our passion and happiness became being together, and just being happy……just BEING.  Our true friends were very happy for us, and several have said that they would love to have what we have…..not petty, or jealous.  They just see and appreciate what we have and what we are building together, and are sincerely happy for us.  We give each other the space and time we each need, when needed, to spend with friends or family.  We respect each other.  It’s very easy to be together because of the respect we have for each other.

I can honestly say that we never meddled in Olive’s personal life, even though she felt compelled to meddle in ours.  We both tried to be there for her when she was struggling with the end of her marriage.  As I spent more time with Al, and less time with Olive, she became very mean and treated me terribly. One day she looked at me with pity, and shook her head, saying, “Ohhhh Lauri! You’ve LOST yourself!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  I was happier than I had been in a very long time, and was trying to focus on the man I chose to be my partner in life.  I was hearing this unhappy woman condescendingly tell me that I had LOST myself!?!? But then, maybe she was right…….I lost the negativity and anger I had about men and relationships.  I lost the insecurities, and feelings of low self worth.  But I FOUND a much happier person that I didn’t know existed anymore.  I found that I was much calmer, and less anxious.  I had a partner to lean on.  I found a passion for life, and was happily building a life with my best friend.  I found that my passion is our life together.  Why was she trying to kill that?  That was very near the end of my friendship with Olive.  She just became too hateful and nasty.  Recently, I heard that Olive is getting remarried. I hope she’s marrying her best friend.  I hope she understands now that being committed to someone else, and being married to your best friend is a really beautiful thing, not something to try to kill in someone else’s life.  I hope she loses herself in this relationship, and finds a kinder, nicer person when she looks in the mirror.

Whether your passion is your children, your travels, music, restoring cars, painting, animal rights, fitness, cooking, entertaining, story telling, friends, religion, reading, or your significant other…..be happy……and remember that we all deserve that.  We all want it and deserve it.

European Vacation, Home Sweet Home, Misconceptions, Respect, Sweden, travel, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home

I’ve been on hiatus the last few weeks due to travel, fatigue, not feeling the greatest, studying, and just trying to reflect on our trip to Europe.  The trip itself was not bad.  A couple of our flights were fine, two others a little stressful.  Since we flew out of Miami, we had an 11 hour drive on either end of the trip too, so we were also more exhausted from this!  We aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore, and we do get more tired than when we were 20 or 30!  We had plans every single day we were there, and I wasn’t feeling well several of those days, but kept going as much as I physically could.

We were able to stay in Al’s old apartment, where he lived for 17 years, so that saved us a ton of money!  We could cook our meals and not eat out all the time!  Plus, we stayed in shape by climbing the 53 steps each day! We were also able to borrow a friend’s car for part of the time, and took public transportation (trains, trains, and more trains), and walked a lot.  Any time you are in a city, you will spend a good deal of time walking, and I love that about any metropolitan area.

We didn’t see as much of the country and tourist areas as we wanted, but that was ok, because we got to spend time with people.  Since Al lived there for 30 years, there were a lot of friends who wanted to see him.  We squeezed in a little bit of sight seeing the last couple of days, and the sun came out, so that was nice!  We toured the Nordic Museum, which is housed in a beautiful building, and we were treated to a free boat tour through the canals around Stockholm.  We tried to tour the Vasa Museum, but the lines were way too long, and we had a short time frame due to plans later that night.  We also spent the day with friends at their house on the water (a finger of the Baltic Sea), and it was gorgeous!  So much of the landscape, countryside, and customs reminded me of living in Northern Iowa on the Minnesota border.  I understand now why so many Scandinavians settled in that area.  The weather, food, customs, foliage, scenery….even the people felt very familiar.  While living in the upper Midwest, I remember many times having to wear jackets in June!  Brrrr!  A lot of people think I’m from Florida, and can’t handle cold weather.  I handled cold weather (blizzards, white outs, ice storms, -80 windchills) my whole life until the last few years.  I handle it just fine.  I just don’t like it.

I didn’t meet many Swedish people.  Most of Al’s friends are American, Australian, British, etc.  However, the wives of his friends were Swedish, and they were all very kind to me.  If you’ve ever been in a foreign country, and don’t speak the language, you can understand how excluded and isolated you can feel.  It’s understandable to speak your language in your country, so I didn’t mind….I was a guest in their country, after all.  It just felt awkward a few times.  On two separate occasions, there were friends who announced that they would be speaking only English for my sake.  I really appreciated that!  It really made me feel accepted and respected.  I thought that was very kind of them.  Another thing I loved was that Sweden is a very dog friendly country!  I usually enjoy dogs more than most people, so it was great to see dogs EVERYWHERE.  They are treated extremely well!

There were a few misconceptions on both sides, I think, about how America/Americans are perceived, and how Sweden/Swedes are perceived.  I had heard that Stockholm is very clean, and knowing what I know about the descendants of Scandinavians, I was expecting very well manicured landscapes, no litter, no graffiti, no weeds, etc.  However, I felt that it was like a lot of cities in America, with those same issues.  Definitely cleaner than New York, but very comparable to Kansas City, Minneapolis, Denver, etc.  I had also been told that there aren’t overweight people in Sweden.  Well, there were.  Also, I was told that Swedes don’t eat a lot of fast food…..maybe not like America, but there were plenty of fast food restaurants, and many of the meals we were served had fried food and a lot of pork and sweet items.  This may be a more recent trend, as corporations become more global, and everyone seeks convenience…a sign of the times. I had also expected no racism, but one evening in a train station, we experienced a bit of that. There are also homeless people, and drug addicts…..very common in American cities as well.

A few misconceptions I had to clarify were that all Americans are not on “Obamacare,” not all Americans voted for the current president, we do have vacation time and sick leave, and we are not all stupid, ignorant, or racist (even those of us residing in the South).  Actually, defending my country got a little old.  I didn’t mind explaining the health care situation, and that I have my summers off (plus sick leave, personal leave, two weeks at Christmas, a week at Thanksgiving, a week at Spring Break, Good Friday, Veterans Day, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day….plenty of time off!).  They seemed to think we are all working our fingers to the bone with no time off, and no benefits.  I have pretty decent benefits through my job. But defending myself, my intellectual abilities, and that of my friends and family was frustrating.  Hearing some of the jokes and comments made about Americans was at times, hurtful.  I realize this is the information they receive, but thanks to reality TV, Jerry Springer, and the Kardashians, many Europeans think that is the way all Americans are.  Those are the images that are put out there, and speak the loudest, unfortunately.  It made me sad and embarrassed.  Mind you, not everyone was like this, but I heard these comments enough to get tired of them.

I know that the United States has its problems.  It always has, and always will.  It’s a very vast country, very diverse, and has a huge population.  It has a violent past.  But it’s truly fascinating!  There are very intelligent people here (even in the South….), and a ton of good things happen to be “All American.” In fact, for all of the mean or negative things I heard about my country, I noticed just as many NY ball caps, and a lot of American brand clothing.  They may not like us, but they want to be like us! As much as this country struggles, it is still my home, and I do have pride for the good people and good things that go on here.  I also love the vast landscapes, and all it has to offer.  I love the wide open spaces.  I love the promise of the “American Dream.”  I love our fascinating (yet violent) history, and how my family played a part in it.  I love the friendliness and acceptance I feel here.  I love the beach that is 10 minutes from my house.  I love that I can go to the mountains, desert, beach, forest, or prairie, and still be in my country.  I love the accessibility to affordable housing (housing, or lack of available/affordable housing, was a topic of conversation in nearly every circle we were in).  I love our movies and television shows.  I love our music.  I love the accessibility to affordable groceries and retail items, and a variety of places to shop for these things.  I love that even if my neighbor and I don’t agree on religion or politics, we will be there for each other, any time we need each other….trusting each other to keep an eye on our houses, pets, or plants, or to help with a project or a car that won’t start.  I love the helping hands that are there in times of need…..sometimes from complete strangers.

Sweden was a nice, beautiful country, and it is home to approximately 10 million people.  Most of the people were beautiful, and asked educated questions about our lives here, looking for informed answers.  The United States is home to approximately 320 million people.  Naturally, with more people, there will be more (or different) problems. We do have a few ignorant people here (as every country does).  I do wish we had the healthcare system Sweden has.  I loved the open air markets with all of the produce and flowers.  I loved the history and the architecture of Old Town in Stockholm.  But America is my home.  I am proud of it for so many reasons, even with all of it’s problems and divisiveness right now.  I have had so many opportunities in my life here.  My parents raised five children, who are all college graduates and beyond.  I’ve been able to travel to 40 states and now 6 countries.

Everyone should be just as proud of their country, but have respect for other countries and their citizens as well.  It’s great to explore and learn new things about other countries, their citizens, their history, and their culture, and I can’t wait to do it again.  It broadens our minds, and helps us to understand each other better.  Traveling and learning about each other, and having mutual respect for each other could solve so many problems we face today.  Education, travel, broadening our horizons, and embracing our differences can only make this world a better place.

Be proud of your country.  Be proud of your roots (my roots are mostly European).  Be proud of your flag…..and respect all others.  We love to travel, but as Al said the night before we headed home, “It will be nice to be back on the other side of the Atlantic again.”  Home is home.  To honor my 26 years spent in Kansas, I will end with this…..”There’s no place like home!”

Uncategorized

My Fascination With True Life Crime

I haven’t had much time to write lately, but now that the school year is winding down, I have a little more time on my hands. I just picked up a couple of books that will keep me busy for a few days to get my summer reading off to a great start. Of course, when you find me at Barnes and Noble, you will most likely find me in the history, biography, or true life crime sections. I still prefer real books over anything digital. There’s something about the feel of it that I like.

I have to admit that I have an obsession with true life crime stories. I remember watching detective shows with my daddy  when I was little, and that has led to more updated (and scarier) shows of today like Criminal Minds. My grandma used to read mysteries  I would cuddle with her in bed while she read Agatha Christy. I always preferred the non-fiction books better.

One of my sisters (who shall remain nameless), used to scare the crap out of me with a little book about Kansas history that my parents had. The book had a story about the Bloody Benders from Cherryvale, who murdered travelers in the 1800’s that would stop for dinner and a night of rest. They never caught the Bender family. I think they killed at least 20 people if I remember right. That book used to terrify me, and my sisters knew it. All they had to do to get me to leave the room was to pull out that book! They found it to be great entertainment because I would scream and cry, but I think it helped to encourage my interest in true life crime. http://mentalfloss.com/article/53672/bloody-benders-americas-first-serial-killers

A few years later, I heard people talking about the Manson family when a made for TV movie came out. That terrified me as well, but I was fascinated! I would lay in bed at night sometimes worrying about things like that, and I guess that was my own fault, but I couldn’t NOT be interested!

I read In Cold Blood when I was in the 6th or 7th grade. That crime also happened in Kansas…..what was it with Kansas?! I watched the movie when it was on late at night….it had a young Robert Blake in it. I still remember the gory details. That one also kept me awake at night.

When I was a young adult, I met my friend Sally. She was also interested in true life crime, so we immediately had that connection. At least I knew I wasn’t the only oddball out there! We read a book called In Broad Daylight, about a man who terrorized his small town in Missouri (not Kansas). They made a tv movie about it with Brian Dennehy. The book, of course, was better.  But now here I was, a young adult…a young wife and mother, and I was still interested in this dark theme. This was not a passing phase, but I was afraid people would think I was sick or twisted.

As I grew older, another Kansas murder/serial killer was in the news…BTK in Wichita, where my family lives! Still fascinated with that one.

Now I live near Pensacola. They happened to have captured one of the most famous serial killers here…Ted Bundy.  About a year ago, there was a Bonnie and Clyde type couple involved in a nationwide manhunt, and had a shootout in the town where I teach. A few months ago, there was another serial killer in the loose in the area. When these stories are in the news, I can’t help but read everything I can get my hands on about it.

Recently, my daughter turned me on to a podcast called My Favorite Murder. Guess what? I found out there’s a whole bunch of us out there! It features Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, and they talk about different murders around the world that have happened throughout history. I’m hooked. I drive to work each day to my 1st graders, and listen to my podcast about murders! That’s how I begin my day! Dark, yes, but I think I have become more aware of people and my surroundings by listening to it.  I guess I am officially a “Murderino,” another name for fan. http://www.feralaudio.com/show/my-favorite-murder/

At least I have discovered that I’m not really that weird because of this. I’m weird about a lot of other things, but this is kind of normal! Yet, each time someone asks me what I listen to, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “Ok….don’t judge me…”

So as I begin my summer reading, I will tell you that I picked up a couple of true life crime books. Don’t judge me…

Bitchy Resting Face, Body Language, Uncategorized

No, I’m Not Mad…It’s Just My Face

I hope everyone has had a great week, and all of the mothers out there have had a great Mother’s Day.  It’s a holiday that is bitter sweet to me.  While I am so thankful that I have three healthy, wonderful children, two great stepsons, and one grandson, I no longer have my own mother here with me.  It’s been about 14 1/2 years since we lost her to cancer, but you never stop needing your mother.

My mother was very concerned with appearances because of my father’s job as a minister.  Our family was under a constant microscope.  Sometimes it was just plain unfair the way we were scrutinized.  We had to sit, stand, and carry ourselves in certain ways.  While I understand the pressure she was under as the wife of a minister, and the mother of five daughters who needed to present a certain image, I always hated being judged in that way.

One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me to “Smile!” This is such an infuriating command!  I’ve heard this since I was a teenager.  Now they have a name for this scowl that I apparently carry with me…..”bitchy resting face.”  Yes, I have that.  It doesn’t mean I am angry.  It doesn’t mean that I am upset.  It doesn’t mean that I’m grumpy.  It doesn’t mean that I’m mean.  It means that I’m thinking about my day, my children, my career, my husband, my car, my dog, etc.  It means that I’m minding my own business.  It never occurred to me to tell anyone else what kind of expression they need to have on their face.  It’s not really my business.  Do we look better with a smile on our face?  Sure!  But if I walked around all day with a fake smile on my face, I would be in pain, and probably have a headache.  Sorry.  It’s not worth it to me.  If someone tells me to smile, I will most likely look them in the eye and say, “No.” I bet that doesn’t happen to them often! I will continue to have my “bitchy resting face” because that’s just my face!  Apparently, I was born with it.

Another thing that I have been unfairly called out on is body language.  I realize that body language can be very useful in the eyes of the law when it comes to interrogating someone.  It can also be important when interviewing for a job, or having a confrontation with someone.  You should carry yourself tall (in my case….I will stretch my full 5’1″ frame as tall as I can) and proud to show confidence.  However, if I am just sitting, again….minding my own business…I can fold my arms if I want to!  It doesn’t mean I’m angry.  It doesn’t mean I’m stand-offish.  It doesn’t mean I’m closing myself off from anyone or anything.  It might mean that I’m cold (which I am frequently), or maybe it’s just comfortable!  I realized this morning that I was sitting through church with my arms folded, and probably had my bitchy resting face on.  I wasn’t thinking anything negative, or trying to show my discontent about anything.  I was just sitting the way I felt comfortable.

Sitting with my arms folded, and not constantly smiling has nothing to do with anyone else.  Please do not judge others by these things.  No one can know what is going on in your mind, or know what makes you feel comfortable.  The people who judge these quirks might need to look in the mirror.  To me, judging someone’s body language and facial expressions unfairly tell much more about the person doing the judging than the ones being judged.  Maybe a better option would be to engage this person in conversation to find out if they are truly upset about something.  Maybe then, instead of judging, they can help these individuals.

Making a good impression is important, but let’s not act like we know all about someone just by the way they sit or look.  Let’s not make it our place to tell anyone to smile, or how to sit.  It’s not anyone’s business.

Uncategorized

Be Confident, Not Arrogant

We have all known them.  They were childhood friends, classmates, co-workers, employers, store clerks, people on the street, maybe even relatives…..arrogant people. Those who claim to be confident, but who are just plain cocky and rude are arrogant.  If you call them out on it, they will argue that they are just confident, and you are jealous.  No.  I’ve known plenty of confident people who are very kind, and sincerely caring…not the least bit arrogant.

Where does arrogance come from? Does it come from being spoiled or over indulged as a child, and a sense of entitlement?  Or does it come from a sense of insecurity, and now that person has to compensate for feeling less than others?  I think the answer is probably a combination of the two.  Some people feel that they deserve to be treated better than others, and can be rude and condescending.  Others may be compensating for the need to feel important, and being arrogant is a way of accomplishing that.

I have spent a good portion of my life trying to be nice to people, even when they haven’t been nice to me.  It isn’t a matter of wanting to be liked by them.  It’s a matter of being the bigger person, even if it has hurt my feelings from time to time.  I was taught to be nice! Even today, after my mother has been gone for nearly 15 years (hard to believe!), I can still hear her say, “Now girls, be nice,” talking to my sisters and me.  Am I always nice?  No.  I can be grumpy….but I definitely try to never be rude or condescending.  I try to watch my tone with others, so I don’t sound rude (I could probably do a better job at this).  I try not to stir up trouble, making others upset with me to start with.  I try to show interest in others’ lives and activities.  I do try to acknowledge someone’s kindness or generosity, no matter what kind of mood I’m in.  If someone is friendly to me, I will always be friendly back (even if I’m in a bad mood, or am busy). I will admit that my humor can be self deprecating, but that’s how I’ve made people laugh over the years.  I taught my children to respond to others when spoken to from the time they could speak (even though they weren’t always easy to understand).  My father was testing my son’s handshake from the time he was a little boy, to make sure it was firm and strong….a sign of confidence and politeness, not arrogance.  A strong handshake shows respect for the other person.

When my students come to my room in the mornings, I always greet them with a, “Good morning,” a hug (if they want it), or a handshake (if they want it).  If they don’t respond to me, I have responded to their lack of manners by saying, “Well good morning Mrs. Desport!  How are you today?”  Sometimes they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind.  Other times they smile and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Desport!” I have learned that not every parent teaches their children to respond to greetings, or have any manners.  Part of my job as their teacher, is to make sure they use manners at least while they are at school. This may have an impact on them in the long run, so they are not accused of being rude and arrogant later in life.

What happens when ill mannered people grow up, feeling that they should be handed everything, and that the world should worship them?  We end up with a rude, entitled, arrogant society, and a rude, entitled, arrogant society does no one any good.

While we have no control over rude, arrogant, or condescending people, we do have control over how we deal with them.  I will always be nice, and try to be the bigger person, but I’m slowly learning that I don’t have to cater to their egos either.  I can still be kind, but their need for adoration will be lost on me.  I had an employer once who demanded adoration, as if she were a cult leader.  I couldn’t do it.  Needless to say, I moved on!  The only people in this world who truly deserve my adoration are my husband and children.  They’ve earned it.  They are not arrogant or spoiled or overly confident.  They’re just good people who treat me with respect.

No time for arrogance?  Then don’t acknowledge it…..don’t respond to it.  There is always time for kindness and manners, no matter how consumed we are with daily life.  Make time for it.  Don’t be arrogant and selfish.  Be kind and respectful….and have confidence that is the right thing to do.