Google+ Mommy Moments with Abby: Miss Manners

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Miss Manners

Teaching manners should be something that each parent starts early and works on throughout the life of their child. In this world, we all want respect and for others to speak to us politely. You cannot expect for others to speak to you or treat you politely and respectfully if you’re not willing to do the same. You cannot expect your children to receive politeness from others if they are not polite themselves. I am talking about manners because lately I’ve noticed that children and adults seem to have lost a lot of theirs in today’s world.

No longer do people routinely open doors for each other. They don’t watch what they are saying to make sure they don’t curse in front of a child. They don’t respond with your welcome/thank you/please/or any other polite response during interactions with others. They don’t look out for those around them. Walk through any store and while you may see the occasional person doing something polite you will notice that mostly people bump into each other, or one moves out of the way while the other doesn’t even acknowledge that a courtesy was done, or if someone moves a cart out of someone else’s way instead of making them wait a thanks isn’t present, or any other polite response to those around them will be seen. You will notice people behaving entitled, being offended if someone doesn’t provide allowances for them, and the refusal to notice others personal space. While you watch these people, their children will be watching them and mimicking their behaviors. Sadly, if anyone challenges them on it or behaves the same way back rude comments will fly, curse words will be muttered, and a denial for their own behaviors present. For this reason it would seem that articles, such as one I recently noticed floating around the web, outlining the manners children should have before age 9 are needed.

I read through this list and found myself even more saddened by the fact it needed to be written. Most of the manners listed were things that seemed to be a “No-Brainer” for me and something we should all know and do. The list included: please, thank you, do not interrupt others unless an emergency, if interrupting or trying to get by say excuse me, if you’re in doubt on whether or not to do something ask, no one cares what you dislike keep negative opinions to yourself and your family in the privacy of your home (if you put your negative opinions out there be prepared for others negative opinions of you to be heard as well), do not comment on others unless it’s to complement them (if someone asks how they look and it’s not flattering don’t insult instead offer an alternative or ask for more choices being honest doesn’t mean being a jerk), when asked how you are briefly tell them then ask how they are, remember to thank others for having you over (no one ever has to let you in their home), knock on closed doors and wait for a response before entering (no one wants to be walked in on when trying to go to the bathroom or changing), when calling introduce yourself then ask for the person your wanting to talk to, send thank you notes for all gifts you receive (they mean someone put thought into you even if they missed the mark on what you would want(to that end try to get people something they want returning for a different item or size is time out of someone’s day if in doubt money or gift cards are safe and still show thought)), do not use foul language in public (no one wants to hear how ignorant you feel in bad moments or during your day), don’t call names (if you do be ready for others to call you names), don’t make fun of others (again if you do others will probably take this as a sign that it’s ok to make fun of you), if something is boring respect that someone else is putting effort into it or others around you may find it interesting so be quiet and sit still (you’re not the only person with an opinion on the planet respect that others may be different than yours), if you bump into someone say excuse me, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and don’t pick your nose in public (no one wants your germs if you’re sick and boogers are not attractive), when you go through a door make sure it doesn’t shut on someone else and look to see if you can hold it open for someone, if you see someone you know working on something offer your help and if accepted help without complaint (you may want or need help down the road), when asked for a favor do so with a smile and don’t grumble about it, if someone helps you say thank you (they didn’t have to help), use your eating utensils properly and chew with your mouth closed (we are not animals and no one wants to see the digestive process in action), have a napkin on your lap to wipe your mouth (its gross to look at someone’s sleeve and know what they had to eat), and lastly don’t reach across a table ask for things to be passed to you (things get spilled and meals get interrupted that way). The fact there needs to be an article and a list means that we have lost something in our society. We lost the regard for each other that kept us civil. We have lost our ability to interact smoothly with each other regardless of economic status. We have lost our class.

I thought back to past generations and not saying please or thanks wouldn’t be allowed. It would be a sign that you were of a lower economic status and from the lowest social class. Now, it isn’t thought of at all. It’s like we are all walking around spinning in circles with our arms extended not paying attention to if we will hit someone or not. We can’t be surprised then when we hit someone (are rude to them), they get mad and they don’t offer politeness or regard for us back.

I would ask that you now think of your kids. What manners do they know? Do they say please, thank you, sorry, or excuse me? Do they open doors for others, help someone get something that is hard to reach, or move out of others way? Do they clear their own place after a meal, offer compliments to other people’s efforts towards them, or keep a nasty comments about another person’s looks to themselves? How old is your child and what manners do they have? Now think on what manners you show your children and what manners you teach them. Maybe we could all use a little refresher on manners and a reminder that our children will provide a future for this world, so we should take care with what we teach and display because in the end we can’t expect more than we are willing to put out. To end this opinion of mine I will say this, it is never too early to start manners and never too late to put them into use!


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