Talked to the staff at your local school recently?
Beyond the polite smiles and friendly greeting. Beyond the usual about how your child is doing. Down to the real stuff about what’s actually going on.
The sordid side
Like the disaster of meal times.
No, it’s not anything about the food or how it’s served. In most places that’s pretty good and the dinner ladies know what they’re doing.
It’s the kids themselves. Their manners.
Not just some of them, more like ALL – yours included. Right through junior school and all the way to Sixth Form.
Peer group pressure and all that.
What’s a knife? What’s a fork?
Because none of them seem to know about knives and forks.
Half of them don’t even pick them up and put them on their lunch tray.
Uh huh. Spot the missing life skill – or why they’ll never get invited to Buckingham Palace.
Well, you try it. How are you going to eat your pasta with tomato sauce when you sit down? Or your chicken roast with gravy and vegetables?
No, it’s not like eating Indian food – where eating with your fingers is the cultural thing.
This is the full-on horrific kids catastrophe – greasy fingers, dribbled clothing, smears of sauce around their mouths.
Horrific, but it’s true.
Check it out with the teachers who do lunch hall duty.
It’s not a one-off, these kids do it regularly. They never seem to think otherwise.
Which boggles the mind about whether they washed their hands beforehand. Or at all.
Because there’s plenty of evidence they don’t do it afterwards. Stains on exercise books, blotches on clothing, faces like make-up sessions gone wrong.
Handle it, THIS IS THE NORM!
No manners makes monsters
Ask why, and the teachers will tell you. Either the family never eats at table. Or meals at home are always convenience eating. A sandwich at the computer. Chicken nuggets and chips in front of the TV.
Just check the greasy marks on light switches, door handles, keyboards and remotes!
That’s the evidence, right there.
Nobody’s washing their hands. Probably not before – and certainly not after. And don’t even think about when they go to the toilet.
So if your little Princess comes home with a tummy ache, or cramps, or spends half the night on the loo – yes, it’s the school’s fault.
Not because hygiene standards in the place are lax. But because the kids themselves don’t have any. And nobody’s allowed to come down heavy, insisting on basic minimum cleanliness.
Political correctness and all that – teachers are gagged. Even sharp voices can get them fired – no matter how far these embryo delinquents push the envelope.
Whatever happened to the principle that rights have to be earned?
Yup, we’ve brought it on ourselves.
First with our own lack of discipline. Second with our increasingly crazy lifestyle.
Our whole fast-food, always-on-the-go culture. Meals gobbled on the fly, usually in a rush, with never a thought about soap and water. Everyone grows up and 95% of us still have no clue how to wash our hands properly.
Hello, norovirus – the vomit-comet wonderbug! Over and over again.
No wonder it’s all over the place – fear of soap and water.
Oh yes, you can betcha. If the kids bring gastro-whatever into the house, everybody’s going to get it, including you. They’re not washing their hands at school, so what’s different at home?
The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease strikes again – all because we’re too easy-going and laid-back about manners or hygiene.
Because too many of us default on inculcating life skills. Cop out of being parents. Duck out of responsibilities. Feeding the myth that kids are in school because it’s a crèche – child-minding while we go to the mall, or rush off to the office.
Sad, totally sad.
So you’re going to come down with the tummy cramps and diarrhoea upchuck – so is everybody at work because norovirus takes three days to show itself. Three days of unsuspecting innocence until all hell breaks loose – or more accurately, all poo breaks loose.
Nauseating, isn’t it?
And how can we be so sure it’ll be norovirus?
It’s more common than the common cold, highly contagious, and never loses an opportunity to exploit sloppy hygiene.
All from dirty hands. Two minutes with soap and water – the same time it takes to brush your teeth. (You mean the kids don’t do that either!)
OK, back to earth. Want to stay well?
You’re safe enough – as long as your kids mind their Ps and Qs.
P-soap and Q-water of course.
Pints and Quarts come later.