Jul 9, 2010

Manners

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." - Emily Post

There are children who somehow grow up, never having learned that they are not the center of the universe. This always astounds me, as I can't see any parent deliberately crippling their child's social growth. When parents cater to Beauregard's every whim, without teaching the niceties of "please" and "thank you," they are raising, perhaps without realizing it, a little tyrant.

What child wants to play with a kid who always has to be first, have his way, get what he wants, when he wants? What child wants a playmate who never takes turns, shares what he has, or seems to appreciate anything given him?

I blame the parents. Where does a child learn manners? At home, mostly. What about the other influences, like tv? When my older boys were growing up in the 90s, The Simpsons was a popular tv show. We didn't watch it, because the tv children were rude. What ever you grow up with, you think is normal. I didn't want my kids thinking Bart's behavior is normal or ok. If Bart Simpson were a guest in my home, I'd show him the door and tell him don't come back. Why on earth would I allow him "in" my home via airwaves? I don't want that example set for my children. That's my right & responsibility as a parent.

If you are not modeling the behavior you wish to teach, you are teaching something else. I ask my son to vacuum the living room. I say please and thank you. Yes, I could as easily bark an order for him to do it. But if doing it the "nice" way works, why be angry? Will he respect me more if I'm angry all the time? He might act like it, but deep down, I don't think so.

Ten or twenty years from now, he'll thank me for teaching him manners. And he'll chew and swallow before he does so.

For whom will you model good manners today?

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