I like to think that I am not one of those parents who is always banging on about how perfect their little precious is. My kid, love her as we do, can be a little devil. She is wonderful and gorgeous and clever and kind. But she is not perfect.
However, one of the things that I am incredibly proud of – and brag about like one of those parents – is her good manners. Aaron and I have had a no tolerance policy since before she could speak about the importance of saying please and thank you. She knows to say excuse me (as in: ‘Excuse me, can I please pat your dog?’ – the words she has possibly uttered more than any others in her ten short years) and she knows how to behave in a café, (as in: don’t speak to mummy until she is at least half way through her first coffee).
She doesn’t get it right one hundred per cent of the time, but she is pulled up every time she forgets.
The thing that amazes me is how frequently she is commended on being polite, just because she has said please or thank you. Surely this is simply something that people just do, but I am assured by many that hearing a young child using her manners is not a given.
I probably shouldn’t be surprised by this. Each day on my Facebook feed, there are articles such as ‘Things not to say to a pregnant woman’ or ‘Five questions to never ask someone in a wheelchair’. Apparently, people still need to be reminded to never ask a woman if she is pregnant. (Here’s an easy rule for that one: Do you see a baby coming out of the woman’s vagina? No? Is there a surgical team performing a C-section removing a baby from the woman’s uterus? No? Then do not ask. You’re welcome.)
There are about a trillion blog posts about the frustrating things that we get asked about living with diabetes.
We need these things to be written, because people seem to have bad manners. That is what it all comes down to.
We can say this is ignorance and that people need to be reminded that there are some issues that are a little sensitive. But I don’t think that is the case.
I think it is just bad manners.
I would never begrudge anyone for not understanding what life with diabetes is about. Unless they are living with it themselves, why would they know?
But asking inappropriate questions or saying silly things is not excused by a lack of understanding. It is explained by a lack of manners though.
Asking someone ‘should you be eating that?’ is just plain rude. And thinking that sharing the story of someone you know who has died a painful, horrific death because of diabetes is not a bonding exercise. It is scary and nasty. Just don’t do it.
Now, I don’t want to be all negative Nancy. No; I’m all about solutions! If you have a friend or loved one with diabetes and want to make conversation about their diabetes, here are some ideas to demonstrate your exceptionally good manners and show how much you understand:
Replace ‘Should you be eating that cupcake?’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘Does giving yourself a needle hurt?’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘I once knew someone who died because of diabetes. It was terrible. Are you scared that will happen to you?’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘I could never give myself a needle.’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘Did you eat too much sugar as a kid? Is that why you have diabetes?’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘I saw on A Current Affair last week that if you drink a kale smoothie for breakfast every day, you could cure your diabetes. Have you tried that?’ with ‘Oh, there’s a Nutella cupcake over there. Can I get you one?’
Replace ‘Cinnamon. Cinnamon cures diabetes. Did you know that?’ with …. Actually, this is acceptable as long as you accompany the question with a cinnamon-infused baked good.
There you go. Not too hard at all. And that ends today’s lesson of Manners with Renza.