How did these 8 year-olds turn into such rude assholes? Because we never call them out on their bullshit. Today I scolded a student for ruining one of my dry erase markers by smashing the tip on the board. It wasn’t an accident. It was just blind, destructive behavior with no thoughts of “somebody took time to buy this marker because it’s a necessary tool to educate the classroom and by ruining it I’m depriving the class of a functional marker and wasting the person’s time and money who purchased the marker.” So, I watch this student push the tip of the marker onto our white board and called him out. He said, “I din’t do it.” I said, “I just saw you smash that marker on the board.” He said, “It was already like that.” I mean, maybe he realized his behavior was wrong and then lied to avoid getting in trouble. But still. I was pissed and I let him have it. I yelled at him for lying to me and then I gave him a lecture on respecting people’s property. And I kept going until he started crying.
I did something that I was told to never do. I made him feel bad for his actions. I was tired of protecting these kids’ feelings and being polite.
The fact is that we spend our life being polite. We maintain friendships we don’t really care about because it’s the polite thing to do. We make small talk with people we don’t even know because it’s polite. We put up with assholes in public because it’s polite. We don’t dress the way we really want to because we have to be polite. We both buy and accept terrible gifts because it’s polite.
Politeness is the difference between asking for what you really want and dropping hints to have what you want offered to you.
My students are not polite. At all. They’re self-absorbed and don’t care about other people. But, maybe they’re just being honest.
Honesty and politeness are antonyms. You can either be honest or you can be polite. While most people will tell you to be honest, they would really prefer that you’re polite.
How many relationships have I maintained based on the fact that it would be rude to discontinue them? There are situations where I will just walk away from talking to somebody while in a group because I feel uncomfortable speaking to them. I won’t even use a polite send-off, I’ll just be like “Okay…” and walk away.
Makes you wonder whether or not nice people are really that nice or they’re just incredibly polite.
Politeness has caused me to do things that wouldn’t have normally done. There are plenty of social engagements that I’ve been invited to where my honest reply would be “sounds awful”, but my actual reply is “sounds great!” But in the end, I’m glad I maintained that politeness because I actually enjoyed my time.
I remember one time where I was called out being rude while at the same time I was trying to be polite. When I was a child, my grandfather asked me if I wanted to see a picture of him when he was younger. Having no desire to look at the picture I replied, “No, thank you.” See? Polite. But in fact, my mother pointed out to me that that was actually rude. She told me that even though I didn’t really want to look at the old pictures, my grandfather asked me because he wanted to show me. So the polite thing would be to accept his offer.
Accepting offers is a tricky subject of being polite. I feel most people deny offers believing that to be polite when in fact I feel accepting the offer is polite. For example, if you go to somebody’s house and they offer you something to eat or drink, I think it’s actually polite to accept the offer. This is a signal of trust. I trust you to give me something that won’t kill me. I accept your food/beverage that is foreign to me. I’m willing to drink of the glass that I have no guarantee was even washed. See? If you deny the offer, then it’s like “I’m not drinking your funky water. I don’t like it here.”
This becomes increasingly more complicated when the offer is to pay for something. When purchasing an item for someone the polite thing for the person being treated is to offer to pay. This sends the signal that this person doesn’t want to be treated without having the opportunity to reciprocate the generosity. However, should the person treating accept the payment then that sends the signal of “Damn right you need to pay up. This shit’s expensive and I know you have money.” And if the person treating rejects the offer of payment the opposite message is sent – “You think I can’t afford this? I have money! You’re the poor one!”
So you can see how people might get into an argument over picking up the check. There’s no clear line for politeness. Even if the check is split there’s a feeling that someone is being rude.
I like to split the check up front. That way I can enjoy the meal without thinking about who has to pay for this shit.
Politeness in relationships, whether platonic or carnal, is tough. Feelings are on the line. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a relationship where I can be completely honest with somebody. I’m always being polite to protect their feelings. I think that’s why I stayed with Johnny for as long as I did.
I think politeness is maintained because we want people to be polite to us. Only a truly conceited asshole who believes that everything they do is awesome can be completely honest with people. We’re not honest with people because we don’t want them to be honest with us. We don’t call out people’s bullshit because we don’t want them calling bullshit on us. We treat others the way we want to be treated which means when somebody is being stupid we treat them like they haven’t done anything wrong. Which means everyone will continue being stupid.
We would be real. But that would hurt our feelings. But I think that’s why my students are so fucked up. We spend all our time being too polite to them. We never subject them to situations that might hurt their feelings.
Any games we play, everyone is a winner.
We can’t tell any students that they’re less capable of something even if they are.
The students are being constantly reinforced for things that don’t deserve.
We’ve built up their confidence to the “conceited asshole” level. They’ve never had their feelings hurts, so they don’t know what it’s like. They’re used to always getting their way because their parents never wanted to see them get upset.
Now, because of all of this, my students feel like they can do whatever they want without consequences. They steal each others stuff, they destroy property, they lose things, and they don’t give a shit.