Dear Etiquette Editor:
In the 1960's, my family and I were Yankee transplants into a unique old Southern society of First Families of Virginia who trace their roots back 13 generations to Robert (King) Carter, Mary Randolph and are all cousins.
I was unfairly and relentlessly picked on, badgered and bullied at an Episcopalian girl's school for no other reason than our family did not fit the mold.
We say we teach tolerance but do we practice it daily? Some watch mean Reality TV and laugh at others' follies. With 24 hour Cable news, we learn, from the producers who want ratings, it is an 'either/or' world. We also learn that if one yells over the other person, one wins the conversation, but maybe not the debate as the talking head always cuts to a "hard break."
Technically, we are connected globally yet we remain an ethnocentric society. The #1 rule I teach is: "Leaders always make others feel special." Watch the old black & white movies. Read older books. The "Greatest Generation" went to great lengths to never embarrass another person. They were at the very least civil to each other in public.
With changing times comes good and bad consequences. Different consequences. Because of our more crowded and more dangerous world we live in today, children must have supervised activities. They all have cell phones. They are savvy in ways we parents never were, yet, they are still kids. Parents need to be present and proactive when it comes to their children. Proactive while promoting polite behavior and self-sufficiency.
I was in my 40's before I figured out life on the social fringe rather than inside the social fishbowl was much more fun and fulfilling. Hopefully, each child today will move on from the bullying and learn as they grow to find their own mold. Tomato aspic or green Jell-O?