Papa Don't Preach

Scott Kara's (rough) guide to being a father.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me

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Writer Scott Kara believes a little lesson in respect wouldn't go amiss for some kids these days. Photo / Thinkstock
Writer Scott Kara believes a little lesson in respect wouldn't go amiss for some kids these days. Photo / Thinkstock

Being respectful is an admirable quality. I know I probably sound like some old digger who fought in the trenches for his country when I say that sort of thing, but it is. And at the risk of sounding further like some crusty old curmudgeon, don't kids have any respect these days? I'm not saying all kids, because most are great, but some need a lesson in R.E.S.P.E.C.T..

You see, the other day I was walking to catch the bus to work. A group of young school boys were sloping their way towards me, yarning among themselves, spread three a breast across the footpath. I expected them to fall into single file since I was wielding my trusty umbrella like a bayonet.

I'm kidding. All I was doing was walking at a fair clip to get the bus. But do you think they were going to move over. Not a chance. They shouldered past me, and while not making contact there was a definite attitude to it. I had to take the wide berth onto the grass verge. Which is fine, but it's the intimidation that got me.

The little punks.

Now, I'm not a celebrated war veteran or a lovely old granddad out for his morning stroll who deserves some respect. But doesn't a hard working bloke like myself, who's approaching middle-age, deserve a little bit of the pavement at least?

It got me thinking. I hope I'm able to instil in my two girls the value of being respectful - and much of it comes down to good manners. Things like, and call me old fashioned, giving up your seat for an elderly person on the bus or letting the lovely lady go first.

Then there's saying "please" and "thank you", which are two of the most basic human functions, surely? But my little Mia - and kids the world over I'm sure - still has to be reminded constantly to say both.

Table manners are important too, especially now that Mia is going through the burp and fart stage - which is actually quite a hoot. But I'm not sure her loud belch, followed by her "burpy bum fart" commentary, would go down so well when she's at one of her friend's houses. Or maybe it would?

Meanwhile, back to that footpath incident. I know what school kids - especially teenagers - are like. Bulletproof and centre of the universe and all that. And I was no angelic teenage do-gooder either back in my day. I gave my tech drawing teacher Mr Krook a bit of crap, but I respected my teachers. Well, most of them.

The thing is, all I ask for is that my girls don't grow up to be disrespectful little punks like those footpath hogging thugs.

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