Respectfully Standing Up For Yourself

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.  ~Anne Frank

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Kyle digging into his basket on Easter Sunday morning. 2011

The one thing I learned quickly when Kyle was just a little tyke, was that he was indeed a person.  Not a half person, not a non-person, but a real life living and breathing person.  Just because he wasn’t a full grown human being and he had a lot to learn, didn’t make him any less of an individual.

Before Kyle could speak, he knew what was going on and remembered things, even though I’m sure he can’t recall those memories today.  My point is, children of all ages should be respected for who they are, and the person they will become.  Any and all interaction kids have with the world shapes them for the future at any age.  So my question is, why aren’t children treated with as much?

Maybe some are, but Kyle keeps having these situations of disrespect and dismissive behavior pop up, and they are truly upsetting me.  Kyle is being overlooked or worse, totally ignored by adults, complete strangers, in retail outlets.  Yes, I get it he’s a kid, but that doesn’t make what he’s doing any less important, especially if he’s trying to help me out by standing in line or retrieving items.  Common sense should dictate that the kid is twelve and obviously didn’t drive himself to the store, so one would think he has been asked to undertake a task for an adult.

I know these situations seem trivial, and they are, but there’s a lesson I want to teach Kyle now and that’s not to be taken advantage of or walked all over.  However, teaching a kid to stand up for himself, respectfully, which is the keyword, is a bit of a challenge.  At least one I’m facing.

This happened a few times in Giant Eagle.  To help my mom out, Kyle and I will get her groceries.  Great!  Nice gesture.  So in turn, Kyle will help me to expedite our order even faster by standing at the deli counter to get dad’s beef pastrami and cheese.  There has been countless (though not all the time) times adults would overlook the kid, obviously holding a ticket, and jump the line.  Not cool!  I bet they wouldn’t do that if I was standing there, or perhaps they would be that rude.  That’s one situation that annoys me, but the one that really gets me fired up, was the deli guy at Giant Eagle and his blunt disrespect for Kyle.

Kyle-in-front-of-Shriner's-Band-Fort-Ligonier-Days-Parade-Aunt-Heather-Piper-10-2010

Kyle at the Fort Ligonier’s Day Parade, in front of the Shriner’s Band. Ligonier, Pa. 10/2010

I was in the check-out isle and I totally forgot dad’s lunch meat.  Yikes!  So what does a gal do?  You guessed it, I volunteered Kyle to go and stand at the deli counter to retrieve the processed salty meat.  My hope was that Kyle would return with the goods before I paid.  However, knowing how notoriously slow they are, I accepted the fact that I was going to have to give Kyle money to go through the check-out while I take the groceries to the car.  No big deal.

Well, in Kyle’s eyes, I’m going through the check-out and he needed to hurry.  Nice gesture buddy!

He stood in the deli line like anyone else, pulled the ticket, like anyone else, and when it was his turn, those waiting in line respected my little man and accepted it as his turn.  Good so far, until the deli guy said to Kyle, “That’s ok, someone else will get you.”  and proceeded to skip over him totally and take the next customer in line.  Are you kidding me?  I was ticked beyond belief!  I didn’t know what had happened until we were out the door.  That was one of those times I wished I was standing right there!  The nerve.

You know people loosely talk about discrimination, well that’s exactly what happened!  I’m guessing he was discriminated because Kyle’s a kid, or perhaps for being a boy or maybe the deli guy knew what Kyle was going to ask for and didn’t want to get it?  I’m not sure the reason but it wasn’t right.

I’m actually a pretty relaxed person, and I don’t even care if people jump in front of me in line, especially if I’m not in a hurry, for perhaps they are.  But I will never stand for obvious disrespect toward me or my family.  Kyle was beside himself and didn’t understand the mean gesture.  He came back all stressed trying to hurry for my sake.

Taking this negative and trying to turn it into a positive, I want to use it as a lesson.  I’ve tried my best to tell Kyle, “Without an attitude you need to stand up for yourself and say, ‘Excuse me but I’m next’ or ‘It’s my turn’, but say it respectfully.”  In general, Kyle is not an assertive person and I get it, there’s a fine line of what a kid is allowed to say, but he needs to stand up for himself!

This didn’t just happen at the grocery store.  O no!  This past weekend, Nicole, Kyle and me went to see Divergent.

On a side note, I loved it!  They really stuck to the book.  I can’t wait for Insurgent!  Kyle and me are fans of the book series (Aunt Nikki didn’t finish reading Insurgent or Allegiant yet).  Kyle actually read them all before me.

That particular movie theater, offered food items, one that caught Kyle’s eye was the soft pretzel.  I gave him money about eight bucks for his pretzel, while Nicole and I sat in our seats.

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Ryan, Kyle’s dad bathing in Gram’s tub. Look at that face! c. 1981

Kyle came back a little upset.  Apparently, someone cut in front of him in line.  That was the first thing.  Then, the cashier never gave him his change, correction my change.  My first thought was, “Well, Kyle did you say, “I’m sorry but it’s my turn in line?”  Of course he didn’t.  Then the money thing.  “Kyle didn’t you ask for your change?”  Of course he didn’t.  What is so wrong about that?  I don’t think I was over stepping my bounds of what I expect from Kyle.

Time and time again I keep telling him if there’s an issue come and get me.  Heck, he could have called me on his cell phone from the line and I would have been out instantly.  So basically I paid eight bucks for a soft pretzel with cheese, which really wasn’t the point.

While getting caught up on the pretzel situation, Kyle looked at me, like it was now my job to go out and fix it.  In my eyes it was too late.  Perhaps it wasn’t and I could have helped him out or showed him what to do.  Maybe I too was being too passive.  It wasn’t the loss of money, it was Kyle not standing up for what’s right that really gets me.

Kyle’s dad, Ryan was the same way.  Very nice, too nice to people and many, many, many people walked all over him and took advantage.  Not only as a kid, but more so as an adult.  One day, I’ll call out those who wronged Ryan, you be surprised for they are closer than you think.  Maybe it’s a family trait, for my pappy was the same way.  Just too nice and trusting, if there is such a thing.

I hope one day, and soon, Kyle learns to stand up for himself and always demands respect, as well as gives it.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You!

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.  ~Eric Hoffer

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Kyle hanging with his Aunt Nikki after another successful Christmas. 12/2003

Kyle is notorious for asking for stuff.  I’m not talking about cloths or necessity items, but the complete opposite.  He doesn’t just want Legos, he wants all the Legos ever made.  He doesn’t just want Pokemon cards, he has to have nearly five thousand cards.  And now his newest kick, he doesn’t just want Dungeons and Dragons.  He wants every board game, every piece, every item ever made associated to Dungeons and Dragons.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he likes building Legos and playing board games and cards, and I am very happy he has interests.  But sometimes too much is too much!

However, that’s not the subject at hand.  O no!  Kyle is also notorious for hitting my family up for all sorts of stuff to feed his interests, especially my sister.  Granted, Kyle does exceptionally well in school and Nicole hooks the kid up for his “A”s, and she picks up the tab for shortages when he’s worked off money doing chores around the house.  Unlike myself, Aunt Nikki buckles to his pleas and is always mailing packages Kyle’s way.  Great!  That’s their thing and I couldn’t be happier and supportive.

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Aunt Nikki giving Kyle a good push to get started! What a team! 7/2004

So one would think, one would like to stay in the good graces of gift giving Aunt Nikki and keep buttering her up.  Nope not this time.  This time Kyle screwed up, BIG time!  This past Monday and Tuesday, Kyle had off school for some in service days, which I think is insane, do the meet and greet in the evenings so the kids don’t have to go to school all the way into the middle of June, but I guess that’s for another blog post.  Anyway, Monday, Kyle was helping me in my yard and Tuesday Kyle’s friend Duncan came over to hang.  Great!  Kyle did work REALLY hard all weekend, and I’m certainly glad he had an enjoyable day playing with his friend of like interests.  No big deal.

Well, it wasn’t a big deal, not until Nicole reached out to Kyle to touch base with our little man.  You see, we miss him when he is not directly beside us, and when there’s an opportunity to communicate with our little package, especially on an off time, we seize the chance.  Apparently, Kyle thinks he has immunity from our wrath, and respect is optional while communicating via phone.  Wrong!

Kyle-with-Basketball-hoop-7-2003-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle playing with his new basketball & hoop, courtesy of Aunt Nikki for his 3rd Birthday. 7/2003

What happened?  Nicole called Kyle to see what he was up to, and I guess Kyle didn’t want to talk to his Aunt Nikki because his friend was there.  So how did he handle it?  He hung up on her!  What?  Yes!  When Nicole called me to tell me the story, maybe unbeknownst to Kyle but we do talk and communicate among ourselves like families are suppose to, I was livid!  Furious!  Once Nicole got the words ‘He hung up on me’ out of her mouth I was ready to head over there and grab him by the scruff of his neck!  Lucky for Kyle, good old Aunt Nikki handled the situation before I could intervene.

Nicole said, she was mad and texted him to call her right back.  She said within a matter of 1.1 seconds after the text message was sent, Kyle rang up his trusty money supplier to apologize.  Nicole explained that she was aware he was busy with his friend, but what he should have said was ‘Aunt Nikki, my friend is here and we are busy.  Can I call you back?’  Kyle must have caught her drift and realized the severity of the situation and repeated that sentence back and said he was sorry.  Nicole asked him, “Kyle, are you really sorry?  Because I don’t think you are.”  Again, Kyle apologized and said he was truly sorry.  You know what?  I bet he was scared S%$#less.  Aunt Nikki usually doesn’t make a fuss over some things and rarely gets mad at our little package.  She put him in his place.

The entire time she was rehashing the story, I was fuming!  Nicole felt she handled it, and I believe she did.  She also feels it will never happen again.  Let’s hope not, because if that very situation happened with me, I would have headed straight for Kyle and spoke to him face-to-face.  Not to mention I would have totally embarrassed him in front of his friend and made an example out of him so all his friends knew all about respect demanding Aunt Heather.

Naturally, I told my parents.  Dad was not too happy, to say the least.  But it was handled, however this will not be forgotten, in case it comes up again.

What cracks me up, Kyle knows there’s a package in route to his house as we speak, from his Aunt Nikki for some lame reason.  You know, something like he helped my mom with dishes or he was thinking about dusting the living-room.  Again, those deals are between Kyle and his Aunt Nikki.  I stay out of them totally.  If I was Nicole, I would cancel that order if possible, or I would refuse to let him open it up.  That would bring pure torture to the kid, and really make him pay for his poor choice of inappropriate behavior.  He wouldn’t be able to stand seeing something he wants, sitting there, in a box, and not allowed to open it and play with it.  Pure torture!

Come on Kyle, you are a smart kid!  Think first!  Don’t blow a good thing you have going for you.  For what?  For showing off in front of your friend, or worse, just because you felt like it?  Not cool buddy!  Not only does it benefit you, but your Aunt Nikki truly enjoys sending packages your way, to continuously be apart of your life from a distance.  She loves making you happy!  I hope you learned your lesson and will think first and use your manners.  I would hate to hear you ever spoke to anyone else like that.  That’s not how Piper’s operate.  I know you’re a pre-teen, but if you keep this up you wont hit your teenage years.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Simply Respect – Remembering 9/11

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.  ~Clint Eastwood

Respect is something earned and should be expected at the sames time.  I’ve always taught Kyle to respect others, that includes their property and how he addresses them.  Not only elders and authority figures, but also other children, pets, nature etc.  However, I have also taught Kyle that respect is a two way street.  Both parties need to walk down that street, it’s not just one sided.  As with everything I expect from Kyle,  I try to set by example.

Kyle really impresses me sometimes.  This weekend we were back at Giant Eagle and Kyle started to help bag the groceries for the cashier.  When our cashier would hand Kyle a bag of groceries to add to our cart (I Don’t Like to Push a Shopping Cart!), Kyle would look at the young man and say, “Thank you!”  He said it with such confidence and almost second nature that it really made me open my eyes. Is this my little man?  You know what?  It is!  He uses his manners, especially ‘Excuse Me’, when he passes someone or a group of people, ‘Yes Please’ when responding to a question, and naturally the ‘Thank You’.  I’m not saying Kyle’s perfect, I do have to reinforce these with him periodically, but for the most part, he is a good little man!

In remembrance of September 11th, I wanted to share a cute little story about the tomb of the unknown soldier.  For years now, since my sister moved into the D.C. Metro area, we have been going back and worth to Washington D.C. to visit her and to visit our nation’s capital.  I know I’ve mentioned with every trip to Washington D.C., we manage to discover something new to explore, not taking in all the sights at once.  On one of our trips, we toured Arlington Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the guards.  Kyle was around four or five, so he was just a little tyke.  Before we went to the tomb of the unknown soldier, we told Kyle that he needs to be quite and respectful.  I remember thinking, ‘If Kyle was disturbing the crowd, then I would take him out of the area and we would go for a walk’.  I also thought, ‘He would be so grounded for acting up in such an honorable place’.  As a family, we discussed Kyle going to the ceremony and we believed it was an experience that he should be apart of, he just needed to be taught the correct way to behave.  You know what?  Kyle was an absolute perfect angel during the entire demonstration.  He stood and watched the guards attentively.  He was such a respectful little man, who made us all proud!

In honor of those how have survived, the families of the fallen and those who have perished during the tragedies of 9/11, may peace be with you.  And to our soldiers who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom over the years, THANK YOU!  You have my utmost respect and prayers.  God Speed!

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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