I was heavily pregnant with my daughter through the Australian summer, and worked right up until a week before her birth.
Commuting to work and back took three hours in the heat by train. That’s a long time to stand when you’re heavily pregnant!
Yet I was only ever offered a seat – even on days when temperatures soared well over 35 degress celsius (95 fahrenheit) – by people who were older or in greater need of the seat than myself.
Other women offered me their seat too. I guessed they may have been through the same experience I was now going through, and knew how hard it was.
I got to the point late in my pregnancy when I just began asking for a seat, because nobody would offer one to me.
They’d even deliberately look the other way, as though looking at me would mean they’d have to actually offer their seat up. They’d studiously look out the window instead.
This isn’t a whining session…
This post isn’t intended to be about me complaining how rude and selfish our societies have become – although that would be a fair point to make.
Instead, what I want to say is kids should be taught to stand up for adults.
Especially for the elderly, the injured, the disabled, and for pregnant women.
I’ll go further and say that kids should always stand for adults, out of respect.
In our society, adults are more senior than kids, and the manners of our kids should reflect that.
There’s something in me that just boils when I see a gang of teens sitting down on public transport while senior citizens stand, clinging to handrails for their balance.
It’s disrespectful, it’s rude, and I find it downright insulting.
And I’m that nasty woman who challenges those kids, every single time, and tells them to give up their seat.
You know what? They do. They know they should, and they do.
They just need a bit of prompting to remember their humanity.
Teach your children to respect
This is all about teaching our kids empathy and respect. We need to teach our kids how to support and care for others and their needs.
We need to teach our kids that yes, sometimes the needs of others do outweigh their own needs.
We also need to teach our kids that the needs of adults are more important than the needs of kids. That adults have rights that they, as kids, do not yet have.
Standing for adults reflects respect for adults, empathy for those in need, and a hierarchy that grounds our society and enables institutions such as schools, the law and families to function.
Without respect for others, things fall apart.
So…are you with me?