Manners were a huge part of my household growing up. Even into my teens, my mom would embarrassingly ask me, “What do you say?” when I hadn’t gotten through my “thank-you’s” yet.
Today, members of older generations will often complain that young people do not have any manners, and up until last Friday, I wouldn’t have argued.
In the age of cell phones and being able to have almost anything instantly, the art of patience is dying. People young and old will not hesitate to show their displeasure if something takes longer than it should.
A simple form of politeness is having the courtesy to be on time. I’m willing to admit that despite my best efforts, sometimes being on time is just not in the cards for me.
However, if that’s the case, I try to make a phone call or send a quick message, apologize for the inconvenience and give a new estimated time of arrival.
Unfortunately for hundreds of students at Barrington High School on Friday, there was a very high-profile problem with someone being late.
That someone was Rihanna. She said she arrived in Chicago close to noon, yet didn’t appear at BHS until 5:30 p.m. – despite being due there at 2 p.m.
I don’t commute from Chicago every day, but I think if it took five-and-a-half hours, very few people would do it.
By showing up late, she inconvenienced a lot of people.
There were police officers who could have been out trying to prevent crime. There were administrators who were supposed to be having a conference day and might have come up with ways to better the district.
There were teachers and students who were supposed to be starting their Spring Break, but instead chose to spend the day at school because a superstar agreed to come see them. I was there too, but I won’t complain about how it inconvenienced me because she wasn’t there for me.
In my book, I call that rude. The event was organized by Rihanna. It wasn’t a situation where she had been invited to go somewhere and showed up a little late. She was the main event and these kids had won a visit from her. They didn’t request her presence. She told them she’d be there.
When she finally did arrive to recognize Barrington High School for its hard work and generosity, your children greeted her with screams and cheers, despite having to sit inside the gym all day. It was more than I expected and more than I personally was willing to give her.
As a result, I applaud the parents of Barrington. Kids today may have an obsession with their cell phones and occasionally forget to say please, but you have taught them to be gracious and, in this case, very patient.
I was surprised – and impressed – by the way they welcomed this woman, who didn’t have enough manners to recognize how much of your child’s time she wasted.
Now if someone were to tell me that kids today don’t have any manners, I might agree that at least one famous person doesn’t, but all you have to do is look at the way Barrington kids treated her to find that sentiment to be untrue.