Posts Tagged ‘manners’

Bad Manners At Taco Bell

My youngest son has a good friend with terrible manners.  He’s a nice 14 year old boy, kind and generous to  a fault, but this kid almost seems proud of his bad manners.

After I spent twenty dollars at Taco Bell for fried chicken tacos, quesadillas and tacos made out of Doritos, Sandor said, “Thanks Mom, that was awesome.”

Then he shoved his friend, Jake.  “Say thank you, chicken butt!”

Jake shoved back”What ever.”

I’m pretty sure I sighed and rolled my eyes.  We’d been through this before. “Alright Jake, I’m not unlocking the car and were gonna stand here in the parking lot until you say thank you.”

He smiled at me, his shaggy hair nearly covering his eyes. Then he looked at the ground and mumbled something I literally couldn’t understand.

“Nope,” I smiled at him. I was playing hardball. “Not good enough.”

Sandor didn’t even mind me calling his friend out.  Jake’s terrible manners made him a little crazy.

Finally, Jake looked at me. I didn’t know if he was gonna flip me off or say something nice. “Thanks for the food.”

“Perfect,” I said as I gave Jake a big bear hug.

We have a serious rule in our world about good manners. Sandor is the youngest of four and the rule is pretty well etched in stone. If you are rude or disrespectful, you can’t come over. But I understand some parents don’t have the same obsession, so if I like the kid, and I like Jake a bunch, I try to work with them. I figure it’s “my house my rules.” And when Sandor goes to hang at a friends house, their parents get to make the rules.

Once everyone was buckled up I turned off the radio.  “Jake, good manners will make your life way easier.”

“How? My friends like me for my jokes, they don’t care.”

Sandor said, “Dude, you’re not that funny.”

Jake and I both ignored the comment. “Here’s the deal Jake, if you have good manners teachers will like you more. That’s makes your life better. If you have good manners parents like you more. Then you get invited to go to more cool places. Cause in the end it’s my call, not Sandor’s, who we invite over or take to the movies or laser tag or whatever.”

“Yeah, we took Sam to Florida with us because he had good manners,” Sandor added.

“And think about this,” I was on a roll with a class A lecture. “If you get pulled over by the police, and you will get pulled over and you have good manners there’s a way better chance he’ll let you off with a warning. If you’re a punk with bad manners he’s gonna definitely give you a ticket.”

At that point I made myself stop, even though I wanted to keep on going. I was on a roll. I turned up the radio and let the boys ignore me for a while. But I was still thinking.  It’s easy to teach good manners if you start when your child is young. Then people praise them for having good manners and the circle starts rolling.  But once a kid turns into a teenager it get’s tougher.  They resist. Jake almost seems to think good manners make him seem weak.

Maybe if we explain how good manners can benefit them, kids will understand. Maybe.

I got out of the car to let Jake out at his house. He was about to climb out of the back seat when I said, “Thanks for coming over, Jake.”

He stopped. He knew it was a trap. Then Sandor leaned over and whispered something to him. Jake got out of the car and mumbled, “Thanks for having me over.”

Then he gave me another sheepish smile and a hug.

Now, if I can just get my son to stop burping like a monster in front of me.


I’m trying to figure out if people actually read my blog…..so…

**I’ve got five free Be Nice Bumper Stickers for the first five folks who post a comment on the blog.  Just email me your address and I’ll mail your bumper sticker!


Five Things You Have To Teach Your Kids…Or Go To Jail

badA few days ago I asked my daughter had to sew a do-dad shiny thing on my shirt. All she had to do was a few quick loops and it would be done. When I put my shirt something was very very wrong. She actually sewed the front of the shirt to the back. I had to cut my way  out.

There are life skills you have to teach your kids or you should go to jail.

1.I preach the importance of teaching your kid to shake hands like a man all the time. So you know that.  If your child doesn’t know how to make eye contact and say, “nice to meet you” everyone will assume he’s a pathetic loser. Life is tough and judgmental like that.

2. Make sure you teach your children how to sew a button on a shirt. If they can do that, they’ll figure the rest out.

3. Teach your kids, boys and girls, how to throw a ball without looking like a dweeb.

4. You have to teach them to swim and ride a bike because once they get old it’s almost impossible to overcome the fear of drowning and falling. Kids are stupid and brave, they’ll do anything if you tell them they can.  They have faith in you and believe in magic so take care of bike riding and swimming before they are five.

5. And finally teach your kid how to use a knife and fork properly and how to set a table. The other day a 10th grade boy came to our house and we all sat staring,  stunned as he tried, unsuccessfully to cut his meat…and it wasn’t that tough. Finally he managed to cut a strip off then he just nibbled it off the fork. It was painful to watch.

There are some kids I don’t invite to go out to dinner with us because it’s embarrassing and they are too old to help.  They eat like animals because nobody took the time to teach them how to use a knife and fork.  They don’t have bad manners, they simply don’t have any manners at all. It’s sad and bizarre. Be a good parent, take the time, don’t loose your patience and teach your children the stuff they need to know. You can’t expect football coaches to teach them everything.

When You’re Mean To Your Mom

mean teenKids and teenagers you might not realize this but when you are ugly and mean to your mother, everyone (the general population) thinks you are a punk….without exception.

Here’s what happens.  When I worked at a boarding school I was on a committee to help choose the “Community Leaders”.  It was a big deal and roughly 100 kids applied for the 25 spots.  A beautiful and smart young lady applied. She had a 4.0, she was a cheer leader, she was the president of several clubs and she was a minority (we really needed some minority kids to be leaders) so she was a great looking applicant.  But several of those on the committee, students and staff, had watched the way she treated her Daddy when he came to visit. His name was Levon, He was a hard working, blue collar widower who worshiped his daughter. But she treated him like bear poop. She was rude, condescending, snarky and bitchy to this sweet old man. This was brought up during discussion and her file was tossed. People had been watching and knew what kind of person she really was.

Recently I mentioned to my seventeen year old daughter that I ran into her friend, Heather, at Wal-Mart. I said we had a really nice conversation in the produce isle.  But my daughter shook her head and said, “I know, right? She’s so sweet and cool to everybody at school but she treats her mom so mean. And her mom does EVERYTHING to help her. It’s crazy. She gripes and yells at her mom in front of people all the time. ”

And guys, did you know one of the first questions everyone in the family asks after you’ve taken one of my daughters out…..”How does he treat his mom?” If he isn’t sweet, if he doesn’t love on his mom, if he doesn’t give her hugs and love….you’re on the list. Because we all know you will treat our daughters the same way you treat or mom. With respect or like a punk ass jerk.

When eleven year old boys want to come to our house they are always sweet and polite to me, but then, when I find out they treat their moms as though they were indentured servants…well, that’s not the kid I want to take to Magic Springs. What if his behavior and attitude rub off on my kid.

So kids, 8-30, now you know. You will be judged by the way you treat you moms. If being rude to her makes you feel more important and more grown up, understand it’s actually  making you look  small, weak and and pathetic.

Now go hug your mom.

My Dear Rude Cell Phone Friends…

Dear Cell Phone Friends,      You are making me crazy and hurting my feelings. And, I think we have we all lost the understanding of what it means to have good manners on the phone. Everybody keeps being really rude and it’s making me furious and I feel  abused.

“Rude Thing Number One”    If I’m talking to you, don’t switch to another call unless it’s the freaking Secretary of State asking for your advice on the North Korea. Don’t dump me. Let the other people calling, who are blowing up your phone, leave a message or call back. I got there first. If I’m important in any way talk to me for a few minutes then talk the the next people. Hey, if your child is home alone for the first time and calls twice in 23 seconds, I understand. Dump me. But if it’s an average business call, if It’s your brother or veterinarian, you can call them back. When a friend says “my phone is blowing up” after an 18 second conversation I feel dumped and discarded. Honestly I don’t do that to you and if I do, I hope you’ll call me out.

“Rude thing Number Two” If we are having a face to face conversation and it means anything at all to you, don’t answer you phone when it rings. Push the button that makes your phone be quiet. If you answer and say, “I’m talking to Diana, call me latter” you are being rude to two people. Just don’t answer. It’s far more polite.

Rude Thing Number 3″  If we are talking, don’t text at the same time, even if you are a teenager.  When you text while talking to me you are saying, “You’re not interesting enough to hold my attention so I’m going to text my cool friend and talk to you at the same time.” Holy Cow, what the hell is wrong with you. Why would you think it’s ok to talk and text at the same time?

Of course I understand there are always exceptions. If there’s about to be a nuclear explosion and you’re the only one who knows the code to save the country, by all means, take the call. If your child sends a text because they just cut off the cats tail.  Take it.  But those are the exceptions.

The truth is I miss the busy signal. Remember what that sounded like? That  annoying but useful sound told people you were busy talking to somebody else and they needed to call back. What’s wrong with that? Nothing! Apparently the busy signal was the last vestige of courtsey and tact.

If you don’t agree with me, call me. I might not pick up right away cause I’m talking to my friend and they are important. I’m not going to hang up on the. But eventually, I’ll call you back and the message will be the same.

PS. Unless it’s an emergency, I’ve decided I’m not going to call you anymore. Hopefully you’ll read this blog then you’ll understand why. I love you.


Rude, Texting, Teens…Our Country Is Lost


Teenagers, they are rude and selfish, withdrawn and distant. That’s what adults think all the time. It seems kids  have lost the ability to carry on a conversation. Or, maybe they can, but they just don’t want to make the effort. So they text and hide behind long swoopy hair when surrounded by adults.

This makes us think they are dysfunctional and possibly stupid. Futhermore, we become worried about the future of our country.  If our children can’t speak intelligently what will happen to America? Will incoherent skate board punks fill the Senate?

First, you have to remember, every generation of teenagers has  been seen as troublesome, dangerous and rude.  I can still see my brother, with his long swoopy hair and shredded jeans as he headed off to Woodstock. Why would he want to talk to adults, they were so old.

I was trying to explain this situation to my 15 year old, Lexie, (who is actually very good at talking to almost anyone with ears) when I realized, most teenagers are actually pretty decent creatures. They simply don’t know what to say to adults who are not part of their world. They can’t talk to them about music or school or most movies.

After “how are you?” kids are at a loss, things get quiet and awkward so they start looking at the cell phones. A fourteen year old boy can’t say so a fifty year old man, “How’s your wife? How are the kids, has your 401K tanked yet?” So, what’s he supposed to do?

If a kid or teenager is stuck at a table or in an office with an adult, I came up with three questions they can ask and the old person will think they are wonderful, insightful and smart.

1. “So, what profession are you in?”  “What do you do for a living?”  Ask about work.

2.”Oh, you’re a teacher(cop, architect, ditch digger) “What’s your favorite part of being a….(dentist,  rodeo clown, CPA, hair band lead singer)?

3. “What did you do before you were a …..(porn star, lawyer, boogie board champion)?

Three questions, that’s all they have to remember and adults will think they are brilliant and destined for greatness. 

And guess what? Lex tried my system with a 45 year old man I introduced her to at a non-profit event and discovered he was an interesting guy!

He was just really really old.

*comment or email me at hampoland@gmail.com, or you can text me if you feel the need 501 545-8372. Thanks!

Dale And Amelia…Have the Gift

My last blog was about the miserable little man who wants to be my Congressman.   He lacked  a skill everyone should have and I hope I can pass on to my children. It’s concerns being a good friend and a decent human being.

Truthfully, I’m not very decent sometimes and I fail my friends constantly, but I do know the importance of listening.We all need to learn to  ask people questions and be genuinely interested in their response. We need to listen, then ask more questions.

My best friend, Amelia, was telling me about a party she went to. I said, “Who did you talk to?”
And she said, “Mostly I just talked to my new friend Julie and learned all about her.”

Amelia is so good at talking to new people because she’s smart, asks questions and listens to the answers. I love introducing people to Amelia because they all love her. Why? She takes an interest in their opinions, ideas and lives.

 Dale Carnegie made millions of dollars in the 1930s telling Americans how to get people to like them. His book How To Win Friends and Influence People was so simple and straight forward. But it was true. And the people who took his advice were improved.

 Here’s the wikipedia synopsis:
1.Become genuinely interested in other people.
3.Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4.Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5.Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
6.Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

If you do these things but don’t actually care about people you are just another fake. But if you do these six things sincerely, and with an open heart, you’ll have more friends than you can imagine.

That’s my hot tip for the day.. If you have children, take time to teach them this lesson. Someday they will thank you and everyone will think you’re an awesome parent.

Learn how to ask people questions, then listen to the answers.

Now, you are already miles ahead of the wretched would-be Congressman.

*Write to me  hampoland@gmail.com. I promise I’ll listen to every word and then write back.

Good Manners…A Competitive Sport

If you want to teach little kids anything, you have to be tricky, all the  time. This is especially true if  you want to teach kids, who don’t belong to you, how to act.

I had three little boys in the back seat of my car, squirming like puppies. One kid was mine, one hangs at our house a lot, the other was a new addition. I like this new boy but he doesn’t have bad manners. He’s got NO MANNERS.

“No Manners”, means I can’t get mad at him right away.” No Manners” means nobody in his life ever insisted he act right. Nobody, including his parents, ever looked at him crossed eyed until he said “thank you” or “yes ma’am”. “No Manners” means I have to explain to him how I expect him to act at our house for a couple of weeks before I can get mad at him for being rude.

So, I’ve got three smelly eight year olds in the back seat, rolling and laughing.

“Everybody got their seatbelt on?” I holler.
‘Yes ma’am” I hear from two boys.
“How you doing Joey? You all belted up?” I ask of the third boy, who has “No Manners”.
“Yeah.” he says.
I watch my kid elbow Joey but he doesn’t get it and I realize I have to try a different tact.
“You ready for some food, Jacob?” I ask of the kid that stays at our house all the time.
“Yes ma’am!” he shouts like a tiny blonde Marine.
“Good answer,Jacob!” I shout and stick my hand into the back seat for a high five.
“You guys ready for some food and football?” I yell at them all.
“”Yes ma’am!” my son and Jacob shout, competitively, trying to outdo each other. And then they laugh.
I say, “I’m pretty sure Jacob won that time, Son,”  Jacob does a little hapy dance in the back seat.
Our new boy watched Jacob and my kid, he was figuring out what was going on, It was the Good MANNERS GAME It’s a competitive sport. He wants to figure out how to win. That means he’s interested and that means I can train him.

I know that sounds weird, that I would try to train a rough cut little boy to have better manners, like a dog or a boxer.  But as the great MMA coach Danny Dring says, “You have to work with what you got.”

What have I got, a little boy with terrible manners, but I still like him.  The key is he’s a little boy. That means he’s competitive and likes to be the winner. If having good manners means he’s a winner, he’ll yell “Yes ma’am” in a heart beat.  Little girls like being winners but they really like the praise.  

At the end of the day Joey’s manners were much better, mainly because he wanted to beat the other boys. But even when we were alone, in a C Store and I asked him if his drink was cold he said, “yeah,” then changed it to “yes Ma’am”. I gave him a thumbs up and he grinned. Everybody likes to win.

More Stuff To Teach Your Kids

                                                                           My son had a friend over to spend the night. I heard him say, “Come on, let’s play ninjas,” then “come on, let’s build a fort,” then “Come on. Let’s watch Adventure Time.”  The next time I heard Sandor say “come on,” I said, “Son, let Sam pick.”

   Sam was obviously surprised by his new found power, “Can we play with your legos or ride the 4-wheeler.”
  “Sure,” Sandor said then the two boys disappeared into his room. I realized I haven’t been enforcing and reinforcing the all important “Guest Rule”.


   After the boys played with the legos for a while i called them into the kitchen. “Ok, Sam, what do you want for lunch, sandwich or mack and cheese.”
   Sam, who is tiny and beautiful gave me a gorgeous grin. the kid has perfect teeth. “Mack and cheese! Man, I like this rule of your mom’s”

   Generally my biggest rule is the one about computer games and television. The guys only get those for thirty minutes at a time but I think the guest rule might be even more important because it teaches old school civility. I worry that good manners have nearly become extinct.

   An Indian friend of mine recently told he he worries about his daughters becoming too Americanized. When I asked him what he meant he said he had found most American teens to be rude and inconsiderate when they came to his house and he said they were extremely disrespectful to their own parents.
   While I don’t think the problem around here is as dire as he described, it reminded me the importantce of teaching my own kids to be repectful and polite. If I don’t, nobody else will.

Thank you very much.

That Gentleman Is An Ass!

Guys you need to read this because it might save you from being an ass. Girls, you need to read this so you can spo tan ass, a faux, fake,jackedj-up gentle men when he asks you out.

The world is full of men who act like gentlemen…sometimes, but they are actually “posers” and jerk-faces.

Here are some signs you can look for so you can distinguish between a true Gentleman and an ass.

1. The faux gentleman will hold the door open for you when you are in public and people are watching but when you are alone he drops it in your face. One way to fix that  bad habit, get to the door first then stop, wait for him to open it, then walk in first. And make sure you say thank you, praise good behaviour and manners, it’s like paper training a puppy.

2. The Gentleman/Ass will tip well when everyone at the table is looking at him, that’s when he leaves 25 percent. But when he eats lunch alone and the waitress is excellent but buck toothed or chubby, he leaves 10 percent. I don’t know how to fix that so just get away from him.

3. Is he smarmy(one of my favorite words).When he’s trying to impress people are his manners too polished to the point of being over the top and slimy? But when he’s talking to the check-out  boy at Wal-Mart  does he act like a chicken butt jerk face?  Then your gentleman is actually an ass and you need to run away.

Personally, I think the guy that pretends to be a gentleman is the most pathetic and far more annoying than a full time jerk.  The Lame-o genuinely thinks he’s fooling people and impressing them with has style and etiquette but the truth is anyone who can’t see through his tissue paper facade isn’t really worth impressing.