THE CALL – RICHARD PASCHALL

By Richard Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Sunday was the day to stay near the telephone, the computer too for that matter.  Robert was not about to go anywhere before receiving his phone call.  He always stayed where he could hear the phone.  The computer was also a possibility for calls but in truth Robert only received one call on it and that was more in the way of a test.  His son, Corey, set him up with Skype and then called him when he got home just so they could test it out.  That was the only time Corey called him via Skype in the six months since their brief trial run.  Now he either called on the landline or not at all.

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Robert tried diligently to be a good father to Corey after his divorce from Corey’s mom.  Corey was in his mid teens then and the boy seemed to follow the divorce with making his own plans and avoiding family obligations.  Robert could never figure out whether this was a teenage thing or a reaction to the divorce, but either way Robert did his best to be a dad whenever Corey needed him.  Corey needed him less and less as time went on.

Now that Corey was in his twenties, Robert and Corey had hatched a plan to keep in touch.  This was more Robert’s doing, of course.  If they did not get together on the weekend, then they would at least share a call on Sunday afternoon.  The problem with this plan was Corey rarely called and he preferred that dear old dad not call him as he was usually “busy.”  So Robert waited patiently in his small four room apartment for a call that was not likely to come. Perhaps if Robert had been more outspoken, even demanding, maybe Corey would be more dependable.  At least that is what Robert thought.  But it was not in Robert’s demeanor to be pushy so he waited patiently every Sunday for the call.

In Robert’s own mind he had convinced himself that waiting on Sunday’s was a good thing.  It would keep him at home to take care of the often neglected chores.  He did the dishes, made the bed, swept the floor, looked at all that junk mail he tossed aside all week, but he never took out the garbage.  That would mean leaving the apartment for a few minutes and Robert certainly did not want to do that.  What if the phone should ring and he did not hear it?

Finally in late afternoon on this super cold, super Sunday the phone rang.  Robert was on it like a shot.  “Hello,” Robert announced in his cheeriest voice.

“Robert, it’s Bill.  How about we go somewhere to watch the game?  You know, wings and beer!”

“Uh, OK,” Robert said reluctantly.

“Good, I can be there in a half an hour.”

“No,” Robert said quickly, “I am in the middle of something.  Give me at least an hour.”

“Fine,” Bill replied.  “I will be there in about an hour.”

In truth, Robert was not in the middle of anything.  He just wanted to leave extra time for Corey to call.  He never gave a thought to the possibility that Corey had already gotten together with his friends to watch the big game.  He just figured that if he left too soon, he would miss his Sunday call.  So he placed his coat, scarf and hat on a chair near the door and sat down to wait for Corey.  Robert worried about missing the call and not having enough time to talk.  He thought of the most important things he should say if they only had a short time.  He thought of nice questions to ask, without prying too much into Corey’s personal life.  After all, Corey was all grown up now and he needed to be treated like an adult.  At least, that was thought running through Robert’s head.

When just over an hour had elapsed, the phone finally rang again.  “Hello?” Robert said tentatively, fearing it was not Corey but actually Bill again.  “It’s Bill.  I’m out front.  Are you ready?”  “That darn Bill,” Robert thought.  “He’s always rushing me.”

“Yes,” Robert said.  “I will be out in a minute.”  “Poor Corey,” Robert mumbled.  “If he calls I won’t be here.”  Although he felt a little guilty, Robert threw on his outer wear and headed out the door.

When Robert got in Bill’s car, Bill immediately started talking about the game.  “This should be a great game this year.  The teams seem evenly matched.  Whoever has the hot hand will win.  It could be either one.  What do you think?”

“Yes,” Robert replied.  “I think so too.”  He obviously was not listening to Robert, his mind was on Corey.

As they drove away, Robert did not hear the phone ring in his apartment.  It rang seven times before it went silent.  Robert never even knew there was a call as the caller did not leave a message.

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A SPECIAL NIGHT

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DAILY PROMPT: PLAYTIME!

Jump!

Three kids, a hot summer day, and a pool. They are going to make quite a splash! It’s playtime! Hey kids … Any room for grandma?

FREE OR AT LEAST VERY CHEAP

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The best thing about retirement is not working. It may sound obvious, but not as much as you think. Not these days when many people either start a new career when they “retire,” or need to take some kind of crappy job to supplement social security which isn’t enough to live on.

There are plenty of other life changes that come with retirement. Not working is only one of them, but it’s my favorite. Pity it means giving up a steady paycheck, but if you can do it … not working is wonderful. It’s particularly wonderful for those of us who have hobbies and never had the time to pursue them while we worked.

After you stop working, you never know what you will be doing in the future, but you know what you won’t be doing.

You won’t be slaving long hours for an unappreciative boss.Getting up at the crack of dawn to scrape ice from the windshield. Driving 60 miles through bumper-to-bumper traffic to be restless and bored for 10 hours. Then getting back in the car and driving another sixty miles in the other direction in the dark when you’re already beat. You may well be perpetually short of money, but you won’t be fighting traffic or grinding your teeth wondering if you’re going to get dumped for a younger, cheaper worker. Discover your job’s been eliminated to improve someone’s bottom line.

You never have to call in sick again, not because you are really sick or if you need a day to take care of a child, business, or just a day off.

Ever learn you’ve lost your job by reading the headlines in the newspaper? I did. Twice. It takes the savor out of that morning brew.

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Retirement is the good part of being older. It’s the payoff. You get to own your life. For most of us, it’s the first time we’ve been free.

When you’re a child, everyone owns you. Parents, teachers, strangers. You have to be clever, sneaky and lucky to get to do what you want. Then you go to college and work — often both at the same time — and your boss and professors own you. Deadlines, time clocks and ambition drive you  onward to goals you believe will make you happy. Maybe they will — for a while. Then again, maybe not as much as you thought or hoped.

You marry. Have children. And find yourself treading water in an ocean of obligations and responsibility. Children are a lifelong committment. Long after your legal responsibility ends, your emotional responsibility continues. You want to be there for your kids, then your grandkids. That’s the way it should be.

If you don’t have to work while you do it? It’s better. Much better. Did you know half the kids in the U.S. are being raised by grandparents? Parents are busy with work or whatever — unable, unwilling or unfit — to raise their own.  There are lots worse things that can happen to a kid than being raised by gramps and gran, but many of us find ourselves reliving the parenting years just when we though we’d finished with all that. Being retired makes parenting much less stressful.  You get to stay home. You aren’t imprisoned by commuting and The Schedule. You can finally take a trip to the zoo, help with homework. Play a game, talk about life. There’s time for fun, not just work.

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If you aren’t taking care of grandchildren? You have the gift of time and it’s no small thing. Be a blogger. Be a photographer. Sleep late. Stay up till the wee hours watching movies, reading, writing the novel you always wanted to write but never had time. Rediscover music. Join a choir. Retired people are busy people. I’ve been retired for quite a while and I have yet to be bored.

Do I miss work?

I miss the salary. Every once in a while, I miss the camaraderie of a good office environment. But most offices weren’t all that great. Many were thoroughly unpleasant.

I served my time. Whatever I have left, long or short, belongs to me and mine.

YeahRight Link

MAKE THEM PLAY STICKBALL

As we head into Major League Baseball’s post season — and the Red Sox are in it (yay) — Garry is obsessively glued to the television. And football is starting, so there is an unrelenting stream of sports playing on the big TV in the living room. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sportscasters were talking about somebody getting stuck with an error because he couldn’t catch a ball on a bad bounce and how hard it is to catch them when they take an unpredictable bounce.

Which got me to thinking about stickball. These guys are paid gazillions to play professional baseball. They have parks with groundskeepers, bases, uniforms, baseballs and even bats! How would they do without all that fancy stuff, huh? We didn’t have any of that. No siree.

Spalding Hi-Bounce BallWe had old broomsticks and pink rubber Spalding balls. Seriously, even our broomsticks were worn out. If it was any good, your mother was using it and it had a broom attached. You try to take that broomstick and she’ll beat you with it. And the ball? Half the time, they weren’t even balls anymore. They were lumps of old pink rubber that had sometime in the past been balls.

So, assuming you actually hit it (dubious), you had no way to predict where it would go. All the bounces were bad. Those things were crazy. Since the bases were “the red car over there” and “the big maple tree in front of Bobby’s house” and everyone agreed the manhole cover was home because it was more or less in the middle of the road … while third was the drainage grate over the sewer … that left us wide open for serious disputes about fair versus foul. The team who was most vigorous in pursuit of fairness or foulness got the call, especially since we were our own umpires.

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Photo credit: mattweberphotos.com

If those expensive athletes had to play stickball, how well do you think they’d do, huh? I’d just like to see one single game of major leaguers playing stickball with an old broomstick and that pink rubber ball bouncing all over the place.

They would learn humility in a hurry. So I say — make them play stickball!! Oh, and make A-Rod the ump. That’ll show’em.

Blood is Thicker than Water… but it can leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

By Beasley Green

Reblogged from BeasleyGreen: Write Up My Street

It can be a tough old thankless task being a devoted parent or loyal family member. You can spend your whole life raising those little ones, bouncing them up and down on your knee, taking them to the park and buying them ice-creams and sweets, showering them with gifts year after year at Christmas and on birthdays. You’ll spend time, energy and money ensuring they have a great time as you take them to theme parks and fairgrounds, teach them how to ride their bike, protect them from danger and comfort them when they hurt themselves. As they get older you’ll try to give them advice and help them with their choices in life, guiding them the best you can. You’ll have arguments with teachers, neighbours and friends in defence of your family, even when you know deep down your clan was in the wrong. And when they need you, you’ll be there. Always; without question. Then they go through the metamorphosis of puberty and things change.

When your sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren grow up, for some, all that time and love you put in will count for nothing. You’ll find the respect you feel is due is forfeited when you call it in. And if you’re unfortunate enough to find them hurtling along a rollercoaster of decline, your love will make you reach out to stop them; but if that descent is too steep and the decline has gathered too much pace, the best you can expect is that your arm will be ripped off. At worst, if you can’t help but cling on to save them, they will drag you into a maelstrom of pain and despair and neither one of you will come out of it good. You may get your respect due at the end, but there may be too much damage done to all parties for it to make any positive difference. It is a pretty tragic and desperately sad aspect of a fractured or dysfunctional family unit. So much so it makes me think that blood and genes make you related, but only proper respect and loyalty makes you family.

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

I was thinking about this very thing and feeling sad. How painful to have learned so much at such a high price, yet have so have so little influence over events.

See on beasleygreen.wordpress.com

Daily Prompt: Tagline – Go with the flow!

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Everything’s Fine Right Now …

Music triggers memory for me as nothing else can, transporting me backward like a time traveler to a world and a “me” I sometimes forget existed. I love this song. I like the words and melody, but mostly, I love it because it’s the song I sang to my son in the wee hours while I nursed him. Night and day lost any real meaning; sleep was catch-as-catch-can. My baby was tiny, hungry and needed feeding every couple of hours. Sleep could wait, my baby couldn’t.

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For the first few months, I almost never went to bed. My son lived on my hip, in my lap, next to me on the sofa … wedged just slightly between the cushions so he wouldn’t fall if I drifted off watching old movies, but ready to wake when he next needed feeding.

Mothering was less structured in 1969. I didn’t know there were rules I should follow, so I made it up as I went along. I was only 22, not much more than a child myself. Being a young mother was natural and unlike other things in my life, I didn’t over-think it. I was playful, young enough to enjoy playing patty cake with a giggling infant.

This was a good lullaby in 1969. It’s still a good lullaby, performed by John Kirkpatrick.

Everything’s Fine Right Now

- – -

Who’s that knocking on my door?

Can’t see no-one right now.

Got my baby here by me,

can’t stop, no, no, not now.

- – -

Oh, come a little closer to my breast,

I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,

and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,

’cause everything’s fine right now.

- – -

And you don’t have to talk and you don’t have to sing,

You don’t have to do nothing at all;

Just lie around and do as you please,

you don’t have far to fall.

- – -

Oh, come a little closer to my breast,

I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,

and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,

’cause everything’s fine right now.

- – -

Oh, my, my, it looks kind of dark.

Looks like the night’s rolled on.

Best thing you do is just lie here by me,

of course only just until the dawn.

- – -

Oh, come a little closer to my breast,

I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,

and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,

’cause everything’s fine right now.

- – -

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting – Cartwheels

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting – All Together Now!

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1. Planning …

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2. Ready … set …

Ready ... set ...

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3. JUMP!!

Jump!

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4. Finished!

Done

 

Awakenings: Are we there yet?

Reblogged from AWAKENINGS 

I love western movies. I love the romance of the old west, the line of wagons rolling along in the shadow of the mountains, bravely heading to the achievement of  the nation’s manifest destiny. But I can’t forget that in building this country, we destroyed other nations, slaughtered thousands of men, women and children in a systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of every Native tribe we encountered — our own American Holocaust. That the tides of history have ever been thus is undeniable, but it doesn’t make it less horrendous. So with the romance, there will always be an underlying bitter knowledge. We built our land on the blood and bones of those who were here long before us. 

– Marilyn Armstrong

On the trail again . . .

Do you suppose the children of the early pioneers questioned along the way “Are we there yet?” Every five minutes a repeat of the refrain, “Are we there yet?” An ever nagging, whiny “Are we there yet?”,  “Are we there yet?”,

“Are we there yet?”

Needless to say, the mode of travel was not by air-conditioned automobile, camper or RV. Instead, it was by crude wagon, horseback or on foot. A grueling 2000-mile journey across western plains and mountainous trails would last five months. Conditions were harsh plagued with accidents, illness, raging river crossings, mud, dust, monotony, and often terror. In spite of unimaginable, unforeseen circumstances, they trekked onward … onward toward a dream, hope of better times in a land to the west.

The shadow of fear loomed endlessly regarding the possibility of encountering native Indians who had been reported as being savages. Can you imagine traveling into a territory where it was known for men to be killed and scalped while women were taken prisoner? That, of course, would indicate the women witnessed the brutal slaying of their husbands. While many of the women were eventually saved, it was reported they went insane and lived only a short time after being rescued from captivity. They had nothing left, their husbands were dead, more than likely the children too, wagons were burned and all possessions taken from them. They were stripped of everything in life they had ever known or owned.

Had it not been for the determination and perseverance of these early pioneers the west would not have been won. Winning, however, came at a high price for both the white man and the Native American Indians who, by the way, were not savages. But, that is another story. . .

So, back to our initial question: “Are we there yet?” I do fear had one asked that question he or she would not have been brave enough or in the condition to ask it again! What do you think?

Long dresses, trousers with jackets, hot sultry weather, & tumbleweed were commonalities along the trail.

Hardy Pioneers

After taming the eastern seaboard, crossing the Western Frontier
proved to be just as treacherous as crossing the Atlantic.
This, however, did not impede the push westward
as hope, faith, and courage continued to prevail.
By crude wagon they traveled
With limited communications
Across the Mississippi
Westward to the Appalachians
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Walking beside the wagons
Eased the bumpy trails
But not the loudly clanging
Utensils and pails
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Fetching water from a stream
Collecting dried buffalo chips
Shaking out dusty blankets
Were never regarded as quips
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Days were long and grueling
Under the sweltering sun
Dusk welcomed time to rest
Once chores were finally done
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Gathering around the campfire
With smiles and laughter perchance
Lessened the pains of their labors
As they enjoyed song and dance
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With new land in sight
After months on the trail
Labors did not end
For bodies thin and frail
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Shelters needed building
Fields hoed then plowed
Candles dipped for lighting
To unveil the shroud
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Without modern tools
Hands aching to the bone
Time for rejoicing
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In a place to call home
Sod shanties, crude cabins
Canvas stretched across dirt floors
Muslin on the ceilings
Kept grime from falling indoors
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But, in spite of it all
Smiles of joy would beam
It was a place called home
A part of their dream

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©2013 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

If you think a long car trip with the family can be stressful, try to imagine a trans-continental wagon train … with the kids.  Would anyone arrive at their far off destination with their sanity intact? Perhaps the journey accounts for the high level of guns and violence in the Old West. I bet it was that endless trip by covered wagon with the whole family, a level of togetherness that is almost incomprehensible.

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I’d love to be able to retell this from the point of view of the Native Americans whose homelands were being invaded by people who had no respect for their customs, nor the slightest willingness to learn anything about the culture they despised. Our pioneers were so steeped in the righteousness of their cause, the rightness of their greed for the land that was not theirs, they could not even consider the possibility that there was another side to the story. What would they have done had positions been reversed? Would they have been thought savages for protecting their land, families, and homes?

That most of the pioneers were utterly ignorant is probably the best thing you can say about them. Those lands were not uninhabited. They were not empty, waiting for white people to come and civilize them. The rightful owners were not savagely attacking our brave adventurers: they were attempting to halt an invasion.

There were people living there, people with an ancient culture, homes, and families. They too had children, wives, hopes and dreams. In building this nation, we destroyed not one, but many nations.

See on awakenings2012.blogspot.com

Winter Time Poem for Children

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Winter Time Poem

by Mary Ryer

Icy fingers, icy toes,
Bright red cheeks and bright red nose.
Watch the snowflakes as they fall,
Try so hard to count them all.
Build a snowman way up high,
See if he can touch the sky.
Snow forts, snowballs, angels, too,
In the snow, so white and new.
Slip and slide and skate so fast.
Wintertime is here at last.

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You get what you pay for

There is a lot of internet discussion about kids having no manners, offspring who display a complete lack of civility towards adults in general and their own families in particular. I hear a lot of squawking from families how “they didn’t learn this from us!” which I find amusing. They learned it somewhere, so I’m guessing home is exactly where they learned it.

The way you treat your children, each other and the rest of the world is going to be exactly how your offspring will treat you.

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When we were younger and on predictable schedules, our extended family had nightly (or nearly so) family meals. As we’ve all gotten older, I got tireder. I stopped being able or willing to cook for a crowd every night and figured there was no reason I should. I’ve been cooking family style for more than 40 years. I’ve served my time (yes, it’s punny). These days, I try to keep life and meals simple. Garry and I eat differently than the kids. My son hates fish, mushrooms and other stuff that Garry and I love. My granddaughter won’t eat anything with even a hint of hot spice. My daughter-in-law won’t eat steak. Bottom line? It’s easier and more fun to cook things Garry and I like. Nowadays, making us happy is my priority. The younger generations are welcome to do the same for themselves. It doesn’t exclude communal family occasions, but it shifts the responsibility for making it happen from me to them. Fair? I think so.

My husband and I eat together, mostly in front of the TV, because the tray tables are cozier than the big dining table. When the whole family sits down together about once a week, it’s pleasant but everyone is off in a different direction as soon as the last bite is chewed. It’s not so terrible. Everyone has their own schedule, especially “the baby” who at 16, is a young woman and wants to do her own thing. It would be odd if it were otherwise. I was much the same and I think I turned out alright.

Despite no longer dining together, we are reasonably nice to each other. We have our beefs, but “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” and similar expressions are normal parts of conversation. Our ability to get along isn’t tied to the dinner table. If it were, we’d be in serious trouble.

Not having family dinners has not turned us into barbarians nor did having them make us civilized.

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I keep reading posts deploring the loss of family dinners. It’s apparently the clearest sign of the end of society, of civilization itself. I don’t agree. Society’s disintegration is a lot more complicated than that.

All over the Internet you hear it. The younger generation has no manners! Hot flash! The older generation is incredibly rude too. As far as I can see, out in the big wide world, parents talk to each other and their children without so much as a pretence of civility. They order the kids around like drill sergeants or ignore them except to complain about them. They threaten them with dire punishment, shout at them until they are hoarse. The kids don’t hear them and eventually ignore them. The shouting combined with toothless threats becomes background noise. This is true with kids and pets. If you always yell at the dog, the dog ignores you too.

And of course there are all those posts promoting spanking as the ultimate solution. Spanking teaches only one lesson: whoever is biggest and strongest wins.  What could possibly go wrong with that?

Eventually, all offspring rebel. It’s normal, natural, inevitable and healthy. They should rebel. However, if their entire upbringing consisted of being alternately yelled at, nagged, bullied and threatened, interspersed with an occasional hug, they aren’t going to rebel then come back. They’re gone. Mom and Dad figured a bit of hugging and an occasional “I love you” would fix everything and make it all better. They were wrong.

Kids become teenagers, so now their folks want civil behavior and (drumroll) respect, but it’s a bit late. Their children don’t respect them and don’t see any reason they should. Respect isn’t something you can demand. It was and remains something you earn. You can make them fear you, but not respect you. Why would anyone expect respect if they’ve never shown any?

“My kids never talk to me.” This classic is right up there with “I don’t get no respect.”

What are they supposed to talk about? If you have some interests in common with the young adults your kids have become, it would help. Most parents are only interested in what their kids are doing so they can stop them from doing it — something of which the kids are well aware. Their folks have no interest in their world. If they aren’t outright scornful of it, they are completely disinterested and ignorant . You don’t have to love everything the younger generation does, but it doesn’t hurt to know something about it and what it means. It is a very different world than the one in which you or I grew up. No need to be proud of ignorance.

They tell the entire world how much they don’t like their kids’ movies, music, games, personal habits and relationships. They announce with enthusiasm via Facebook, the modern intra-family bulletin board, how clueless the kids are.

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The kids may be clueless but so are their parents. To coin a phrase, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I doubt most of them have made any effort to understand the world their kids live in. Why are they surprised the disinterest is reciprocal?

Kids learn by experience. They treat others as they have been treated. You can’t expect respect from kids who have never experienced it, nor good manners from youngsters whose parents wouldn’t know manners from a tree stump. Your children are unlikely to make an effort to understand you when you have never tried to understand them.

If you think you don’t need no stinkin’ manners when you talk to your children, husband, friends and strangers, your children probably agree. Why should they be nicer than you were to them?

Raising kids is the ultimate example of “you get what you pay for.” Or less.