When I was young, I was taught to always use good manners and, for the most part, it stuck. In my house, we learned to address adults properly (Mr., Miss, Mrs.), and always treat others with respect. We were taught to be grateful for what we received and to show our gratitude with the niceties of “Please” and “Thank You”. In fact, up until I had baby #2, I was a stickler for sending out hand-written thank-you notes. These days, a sincere email with an accompanying photo of my child with said gift has to suffice. 😉 But, I digress…
I always knew I’d teach my kids the values that my mom instilled in me. Through teaching me good manners, she helped me understand their true worth and how they can impact one’s life – expressing gratitude makes us more grateful; showing respect to others increases our own self-respect. These are qualities we need more of today. When was the last time you saw a child who was truly grateful for something they received? Kids are given so much that we often deprive them of the opportunity to feel real gratitude. Gratitude is humbling, yet strangely empowering. Being grateful for something implies its worth, validates it, makes us appreciate it more. It’s amazing to think of the important life lessons being learned along with all of the “pleases” and “thank yous”!
As I teach my kids the valuable lessons and skills I learned growing up, I can’t help but wonder if manners really are a lost art. You see, I’m constantly being told that my 4-year-old is “so polite”, “has wonderful manners” and “is so appreciative”, yet most of the time it’s said with such shock and surprise… like it’s completely unexpected. I know a lot of other kids who are polite, so it’s not just my kid.
But I’d like to see more people view great manners not as the exception, but the rule.