I really hope Une femme d'un certain age will forgive me, but I thought her recent post on 'class' would be an interesting point of discussion for my Tutor group, a group of 15-16 year old girls. So I copied and pasted the bullet points and handed them round for discussion. Where to start? I forgot that Americans use the English language in a very different way to girls from 'The Medway towns' so I spent quite a long time translating!
#1 Honouring your obligations. (showing up on time, following through with what you've promised.) most of the girls decided it was not their fault if they were late, things just 'happen' #2 Taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes. most did agree with this although one modest soul declared she never did any thing wrong and so should not ever need to say sorry!
#3 Keeping your cool under pressure. very few could see what was wrong with with exploding with anger every 5 min, better out than in, was their reasoning.. I gave them a few scenarios, including how they would feel if I let off steam as and when I felt like it, and very, very slowly they began to see my point of view, if not heed it.
#4 Graciously accepting a compliment without a qualifying statement after "thank you." This caused a huge outcry first they found they whole idea just plain wrong, a complement to these girls has to be debated ad infinitum, and often they believe a complement has to be laced with sarcasm, so they refuse to believe it anyway.
#5 Giving honest and heartfelt compliments. if we do this they cried, people will think we've lost the plot, they think were taking the piss!!
#6 Being conscious of the people around you. (Holding doors for those behind you, offering to help someone struggling with packages, not cutting right across another's path.) Universally accepted as a given, although many said it was too stressful to be so vigilant, sometimes they just might not think, one girl said she was happy to let an old lady sit down "cos they're sweet" but few felt pregnant women deserved any sympathy!
This was as far as we got, interestingly one girl crossed out all references to God, she announced that "she does not believe in God", that she was God and I quote " You don't have to wait for a miracle, you have to make a miracle with your own hands" "Believe and try harder rather than praying for your God" Wow, wise words indeed.
Many girls when asked to write anything they felt had been missed wrote "Don't be racist" or "rasics" as one girl spelt it, and quite a few thought not eating smelly food in public and keeping MP3 players quiet was important too. I am now looking forward to part 2 especially the discussion on how short is too short for a skirt....
#7Treating clerks, cashiers, janitors, bus drivers, waitresses, postal workers, the people on the other end of the 800# customer service line, and your annoying co-workers with courtesy and respect, and remembering that they're people too, not just robots serving your needs. (Also, not talking on your cell phone while conducting a transaction!)
#8 Dressing in a way that shows respect for yourself and those around you.
#7 Neither hiding your intelligence nor wielding it as a club.
#8 Standing up for yourself without resorting to abuse.
#9 Delighting in others' joys, not in their misfortunes.
#10 Being mindful that "there for the grace of God go I." While I believe in personal responsibility and that choices have consequences, it helps to remember that the playing field isn't level and that life throws curve balls at all of us; even those who make all of the "right" decisions can fall on hard times.
#11 Rather than complaining endlessly about circumstances, looking for solutions.
#12 Helping when you can: volunteer, donate.