Manners

Seems as if being polite is one of the first things we teach our children. When my girls were babies, we taught them baby-sign language and please was the first sign they both learned. Soon they were speaking and saying it, which was much better than the whining or crying we used to get. My 3 year-old still signs when she says please, which makes me smile. 
Being polite, and having good manners goes well beyond saying please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me though. And teaching your kids to be polite definitely has it’s complicated moments. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years especially is how much you can learn from others, and children are no exemption to this rule. In fact, they absorb more of what others do than anyone! 
Have you ever been in a grocery store alone and simply observed random families shopping together? Now, we’ve all had those awful days in the grocery store, where your kids are melting down for whatever reason, let’s leave those families having a craptastic day out of it. I’m talking about the mom who’s screaming at her children to shut up, or the dad who makes the kid(s) carry a bunch of items while dad’s hands remain free, the mom with a grocery cart full of groceries cutting off the little old lady with milk & bananas in the checkout line… you follow? These are the families that make me cringe. Think about it. If this is how they act in public with their kids, what the hell are these parents teaching their kids at home? Probably not a heck of a lot… or worse, teaching them bad manners in general.
I have a long list of attributes that I feel are rude, brash or impolite… some highlights include: arriving late or lingering too long at a function that clearly has a start & end time, not responding to someone who connects with you in the many ways we have to connect (phone call, email, text, etc) I am guilty of this one… oops. Not listening to someone, and/or interrupting them before they can finish their thought, loud obnoxious chewing, backhanded comments, litterbugs, blowing off plans without an apology, tossing a single dirty dish into a clean sink instead of rinsing it and tossing it into the empty dishwasherpeople who don’t respect others’ personal space, ignoring a friend in need… I could probably go on all day here. 
Thanks to friends & family who go above & beyond, just being there, or simply offering me help when I was too busy or ashamed to ask for it, I have learned and experienced the importance of good manners. When I saw how easy it was for these fantastic people, how it wasn’t guilt-based, and how good it made them feel to simply be polite, I quickly adopted that concept into my own life. 
Every day, I wake up with a goal to be a positive example for my children. I am their first teacher… they do observe me more than anyone right now, and I need to keep that in mind when I speak, swear, clean up after myself, ignore the hubs, ignore my kids, clean up after my family, yell at my mother for not listening, forget to say please when I ask for help, go out of my way to help a friend in need, etc, etc, ETC. I’m not perfect. I can’t control the world. I can do my best to be the change I wish to see in the world. My daughters are my world, and some day, I truly hope they can shine in this world with their good manners and a positive attitude… what more could a Momma want from her children? I know there will be countless disrespectful people they will encounter with a slew of bad manners, but hopefully my children will teach these rude people a thing or two. Even if they have to kill them with kindness. 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    I agree that manners are such an important thing to teach our kids.

    Manners can open doors that skill often cannot.

  2. Posted June 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    So true, Alissa. The positive social skills I’ve learned in high school and beyond have been extremely beneficial in my daily life. My kick-ass algebra skills? Not so much.

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