Dear Annie: I am writing about common courtesy. Does it exist anymore?
I have a large family, with grown grandchildren, and I still work part time, although I am close to 80. I would like to complain about the lack of respect that the younger generation has.
I am a constant reader – books, magazines, newspaper, etc. When I come across an article, story or email that relates to the profession, interests or community of anyone in my family, I may cut it out and send it to the person. I may also forward an email if it is pertinent, but I seldom do that.
For example, one of my grandsons, even though he is 6 feet 4 inches tall, wants to build a tiny house. I discovered a related article, which I sent to him.
My mother used to do the same thing for me, and even though the clips may not have been something that really interested me, the gesture told me that she was thinking of me and she wanted to pass along some information that might prove useful. I am never trying to influence anyone, but I do believe that you learn something every day, and one piece of information may open a door.
However, it has created a problem. I recently sent an article that pertained to my son’s profession. I thought it might be interesting to him. Although I knew that he might not agree with all of the content, he rejected the article in its entirety and chastised me profusely for sending it to him, saying that it “offended” him. I reread it after the fact and could find nothing that was offensive to anyone; it was just giving another point of view. He probably thought that I was trying to convince him of something, but that has never been my intention. I am now very hesitant to send him anything or even to discuss it.
Additionally, though it’s not a great deed, there is a little effort involved in sending the items to them; however, I have never received any form of acknowledgment from any of my children or grandchildren. I never receive a Christmas card or a birthday card from any of my 10 grandchildren, and they do not thank me for their Christmas gifts.
Is it wrong to expect some form of an acknowledgment when I give something to them, or is that a thing of the past? Do I stop sending articles and birthday cards to them? Do I stop giving? Do I stop caring? – Disheartened in Florida
Dear Disheartened: It’s good to take a step back, before you send any kind of message, and think of any possible ways the person on the receiving end might misinterpret it. The article you sent to your son made him feel defensive, either because there’s a contentious history between you two about the topic or because he’s a hypersensitive person.
In any case, let him know that you were not coming from a judgmental place. If he knows he has your support, he should be less touchy in the future.
Now, as for the lack of gratitude for gifts you’ve sent, it’s unkind, and you should feel free to tell your children how that has hurt you. But don’t let their rudeness keep you from shining your light into the world. As inspirational speaker Kent Keith said, “people are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. … Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.”
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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