Indulge me, please, while I step up onto my soapbox. I was reared (we rear children and raise windows is running through my mind) in an era when manners ruled supreme and our imaginations were limitless.
Given a choice between lying around and watching TV or staying outside and playing kick the can, we would choose to kick that can every time.
A Different World Where Manners Rule
Being outside on a long, hot summer day with unlimited imaginations that were not stifled by video games and all things technical, was a pure thing of beauty.
And, for the most part, we knew “how to act.” And I recall almost crying when the day was done and we had to pack up that imagination and high-tail it into the house for baths and bedtime.
Seems that, as a whole, teaching basic manners to children has gone the way of that rusty old can. My grandchildren have been taught to say yes sir and yes ma’am, please and thank you, and to respect others, especially adults.
People seem amazed when they encounter my daughter and son-in-law and the boys out and about and are constantly coming up to them and telling them what well-behaved children they have.
After a while, it tends to get a little embarrassing. Not because they are perfect. No child or parent is. But because they took the time to teach them basic manners that should not be the exception to the rule.
As a child, I was never allowed to call an adult by their first name without a “Ms. or Mr.” parked in front, as in, “Good morning, Ms. Janice.”
Southern Manners Rule (At Least For Me)
It would have seemed like blasphemy to address an adult by their given name. (To this day, I can’t call an elderly person by their first name without the Ms. or Mr. attached. I just can’t.)
We had a reverential fear of our elementary school teachers. I don’t recall there ever being chaos in the classroom because we knew better. Talking back to a teacher was unheard of. It just wasn’t done. Neither was using profanity or bullying. Not in elementary school.
If we misbehaved, we got a swatting on the behind, not child abuse (if we had known that term back then, we would have sworn it was). We knew that if we misbehaved at school, we would pay for it at home.
Seems yelling has replaced discipline. Beating a child down with harsh words, cursing them and telling them they will never amount to anything – how’s that working for society?
Appalled At How Some Parents Treat Their Kids
I’m appalled when I’m in Walmart and happen to see a child being jerked around by his arm and being screamed at and cursed at! Bad mannered children are usually products of bad parenting. I could go on and on, but you get the drift.
It’s time for this generation to get a grip on things, step up to the plate, turn off the TV and actually spend some quality time with their children. Children are usually products of their environment. It’s ultimately the job of the parents to make sure their children grow up to be productive members of society.
Of course, one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl (yeah, I’m a member of the Jackson Five in my mind). And I know there are great parents everywhere doing a fantastic job rearing their children.
It’s just like everything else, you tend to notice the negative ones because they are the ones screaming the loudest. So I want to give a shout-out to all the good parents out there. Keep up the good work! You rock!!!
Manners Rule – Bad Parently Drools
And here’s some things that I think children should be taught from an early age:
Say Please and Thank You
Some people think the “yes ma’am” thing is old fashioned and very southern. It may be, but I like it. And I’m very southern!
Always Be Kind – No Bullying Allowed
Don’t make fun of other children and don’t bully them. Children must be taught what bullying is and why it’s never okay to bully another person. Learn more about how to stop bullying.
Children need to be taught to respect adults. Of course, adults need to earn that respect, too.
Basic table manners
- Napkins belong in the lap unless you’re using it to wipe your mouth.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- No elbows on the table.
- No interrupting others – wait your turn to talk.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I’ve always loved the following words of wisdom by Robert Fulghum. I’ve actually read these words aloud during several high school commencement speeches over the years.
All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – “Look.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
In my humble opinion, the world will be a better place if manners were taught to all children (and adults.)
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