Q Dear Miss Abigail:
If you let your thirty-one year old son live with you, and you’re trying to help him get on his feet, and you’re selling him a car, shouldn’t he respect you and quit drinking?
A Dear Dolly:
Oh, goody. This is an easy one ~ YES!
In fact, if he doesn’t shape up and show you some respect, your son is destined to join the Fellowship of the Rude, rather than that of the Well-bred as Mary Clark and Margery Quigley discuss in the following passage from Etiquette, Jr.
1939: At Home
Most boys and girls seem to feel superior to their parents. It is a chronic condition; in all probability, the present parents in their day felt superior to the parents of the generation before. So it goes. Shades of Darwin forbid us to think back too far. . . .
The superiority complex prevents many adolescents from listening carefully while their mothers and fathers address them, and from answering intelligently and truthfully questions put to them. Sometimes they omit the word ‘Mother’ or ‘Father’ from ‘Yes, Mother,’ ‘No, Mother,’ ‘Yes, Father,’ ‘No, Father.’
No one can be admitted to the Fellowship of the Well-bred who is rude or patronizing to parents or to older people. Boys and girls are judged very severely by their attitude to their elders. Every Week, National Respect-For-Elders Week was brought into general esteem by Confucius as early as 500 B. C., and millions of persons are still cheering the big idea.
Source: Clark, Mary E. and Margery Closey Quigley. Etiquette, Jr. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1939.
~ pp. 187-89 ~