Author Topic: Dear Abby October 3  (Read 7707 times)

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BatCity

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Dear Abby October 3
« on: October 03, 2012, 09:57:17 AM »
Here's the link.  Last letter.

http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20121003

In brief, the LW encountered a child at the grocery store who told her "Don't smoke".  Abby's reply is that the kid was not being disrespectful, he was being honest.

I think Abby REALLY missed the mark on this one.  I'm not a smoker, but if anyone said that to me, I'd be pulling every last bit of willpower I had to refrain from doing something that would definitely not be eHell approved.

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 10:11:04 AM »
I was this kid when I was about 5, and yes it was rude. More excusable than an adult being a busybody in the same way, but rude.

Hillia

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 10:13:42 AM »
I totally agree.  For anyone to walk up to an adult and give them any sort of direction on how to live their lives is rude and out of line.  For a child to do it to an adult is even worse.  Abby is way, way out of line on this one, and I found her to be very smug and condescending in her answer.  If the child had walked up and said, 'Don't drink soda' or 'Don't wear high heels' would that be ok?

I hate, hate, hate rudeness excused as 'I'm just being honest'.

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gingerzing

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 10:14:11 AM »
Yeah, that was rude of the child. 
And Abby is off base...AGAIN.  (I don't agree with this gal as much as I did the real Abby)  Part of the issue with the answer is that Abby is very anti-smoking* and I think it tainted the answer. 
*Not that I like smoking or am a smoker.  And yes, I get the health issues, etc.  I agree for the most part.

It is one thing when the child is related to the person smoking.  I did it to my dad when I was about Five and told him that I didn't want him to die.  But it was my dad and I could pull that off.  (He did quit that year.)
But for a child to go up to a stranger and just be blunt "Don't smoke", doesn't seem like a polite thing.
What if the kiddo walked up to an overweight person and said "Don't eat so much and get exercise."?  Yes, it may true, but there are some faults with it. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 10:15:13 AM »
So what its ok for kids to talk to strangers now?  Because I'm pretty sure when I was a kid as strongly as the "don't smoke" message was drilled into my head, the "don't talk to strangers" message was drilled in more.  Sheesh.

I do think the kid was being disrespectful.  Yes he was honest too - people shouldn't smoke - but adults are allowed to make individual personal bad choices, and that should be respected over generalities.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 10:16:31 AM »
I think the kid is probably following instructions from a school program, at least the way the kid understood them. Because of that I would say the kid isn't rude but the program is (or at least it is poorly carried out).

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 10:20:32 AM »
I'm going to take a different viewpoint. Children are bombarded with anti-smoking messages at school - along with anti-littering, anti-bullying, etc. It's a big part of their education. A young child doesn't understand that they are being rude - they think they are sharing their knowledge with you and being helpful - sort of a "I didn't know this. Now I do, and it's important! I'm going to tell everybody!". It's up to the parent to step in and educate the child on what it is OK to say to strangers and what it is not - a process that takes awhile.

My youngest, upon discovering at age 5 that girls don't have a significant part of male anatomy, informed everyone he saw for three days. Most were amused. One or two probably were offended. I discussed it with him, and that was that. I don't agree that it's 'rude' at that age.

Now (since I didn't read the Dear Abby column) if the child was 14 - that's a different matter.

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2012, 10:24:44 AM »
My youngest, upon discovering at age 5 that girls don't have a significant part of male anatomy, informed everyone he saw for three days. Most were amused. One or two probably were offended. I discussed it with him, and that was that. I don't agree that it's 'rude' at that age.

I definitely think it's more excusable in a kid, yeah--I disagree with the idea upthread that it's ruder for a kid because of the disrespect. To me it's a lot less rude for a kid because their brain-to-mouth filter isn't really developed yet. If an adult goes around lecturing people about smoking (or dieting, or what have you), it's much more deliberate and therefore ruder to me.

rose red

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 10:36:14 AM »
He may be just repeating what he's learned and I understand that, but that doesn't make it not rude and disrespectful.  Seems "Abby" is jumping on this letter and hiding behind this child to make her feelings about smoking known.  Even her words are *just* vague enough to avoid owning up to her own thoughts about smoking.  Would she say he was just being honest and not being disrespectful if he told a fat person to stop eating junk food?  or told a person paying with food stamps to get a job?

PS.  I'm not a smoker and hate the smell of smoke, but as long as it's legal, I mind my own business and turn my face away from the smoke. 

Jaelle

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 10:52:05 AM »
I'm not a smoker. I hate smoking. (I'm horribly allergic to cigarette smoke, and my beloved grandma died of smoking-related lung cancer.) I am all for anti-smoking programs at school, and I certainly don't think they're rude. (Unless they're actually telling kids to confront strangers!)

That said, if DS said this to someone in a store, I'd apologize to the person and talk to him about how we do not say those things to people we don't know. (Or even most of the people we do know!)

Sometimes kids take school programs too seriously. I remember lecturing my mom about having a glass of wine after dinner when I was elementary-school aged. :P (We'd just gone through a big unit on this at school, mostly about DWI and underage drinking, but I took it to extremes. Kids do.)
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
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Virg

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 10:58:01 AM »
Dear Abby seems to be making the mistake that something honest can't be disrespectful because she's allowed her personal agendas to distort her view of the world.  If he'd walked up to someone overweight and said, "you're fat!" it would have been exactly the same.  This child's actions were disrespectful because the LW is an adult and he's not responsible for her health, and while his young age makes it more understandable (and forgivable) his action was still rude and whoever's responsible for him should teach him that what he did wasn't polite.

Virg

bah12

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 11:02:57 AM »
I think this is something that needs to be put in perspective.  Children learn anti-smoking everywhere and will repeat what they are learning in school.
Is it disrespectful to tell an adult what to do?  Yes.  And if the adult with the child heard the exchange, they should have apologized and explained to the child not to do that in the future.

But, was the child being purposely disrespectful?  I doubt it.  Being told what to do by a child might annoy me, but it's not something I'd get all worked up about.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 11:03:52 AM »
I think Abby missed the mark here too... the child was 9 and beyond the age when he should have been taught better manners than to confront a complete stranger and give them "living instructions." 

Would it have been acceptable (as PP have pointed out) for him to say:

Don't eat fat
Don't drink beer
Don't invest in pig futures
Don't buy canned tuna
Get more exercise, etc.

I think NOT!

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 11:04:01 AM »
Dear Abby seems to be making the mistake that something honest can't be disrespectful because she's allowed her personal agendas to distort her view of the world.  If he'd walked up to someone overweight and said, "you're fat!" it would have been exactly the same.  This child's actions were disrespectful because the LW is an adult and he's not responsible for her health, and while his young age makes it more understandable (and forgivable) his action was still rude and whoever's responsible for him should teach him that what he did wasn't polite.

Virg

Yeah, the adult version of this can be seen in the "Handing it to a bully" thread. It's more forgivable in a kid, but it's still rude and I hope his parents made this clear to him afterward, which of course we can't know from the letter.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 11:08:05 AM »
Bah12, I agree. The comparisons with weight aren't the same becausr kids aren't taugjt that all food is dangerous. They aren't told that they should tell their friends to say no to that first bite of food.