Ever find that no one acknowledges you for letting them in the traffic lane? What about the sales clerk who answered the phone while serving you? People would agree that in today's world, there is a general decline in regard to good manners and civility. When did this shift occur? Social scientists have suggested that manners in the past seemed stuffy and stiff with lots of rules. So in order to break free from being overly rigid, society seemed to have swung in the opposite direction of being overly casual. However, the result is that many people feel disrespected.
Slowly, things are moving away from this laissez-faire attitude. Many parents want to teach this topic at home. But the reality is that they are very busy with their children’s after school schedule. Some families don’t have time to eat together--much less talk about manners. Rules surrounding new technologies or gadgets are different today. Therefore, parents can't assume that their children will “get” it through osmosis. It’s an ongoing process that needs practice. Children don’t just slip on good manners when it counts. The family needs to practice this skill repeatedly. But practice what?? Parents themselves can benefit from knowing the ins & outs of good manners from a certified Etiquette Trainer who specializes in working with children using games, role-playing and other interactive tools.
The reason why it's so important to practice good manners is because doing so communicates RESPECT!! So let's start with some ways to teach respect. Each
point below describes how children can begin to practice respectful behavior
whether with family, friends, or strangers.
1. Respect for Self – my attitude makes all the difference in how I am treated. If I insist on being respected then I’m not a target for bullies, for the most part. My happiness rests inside of myself rather than expecting people to make me happy all of the time. I can be responsible for my choices. If I have hurt someone, then I can make amends rather than blaming others for what I did through my own fault. I make the effort to dress in clean clothes and practice good grooming so my interactions with others will be positive.
2. Respect for Others – I am sensitive to the needs of others and can begin to be aware of how my actions affect others--whether negatively or positively. I am not the centre of the universe!! I extend good, proper behavior out of consideration for others. I hope this will be reciprocated to me, also. Even if someone acts rudely to me, I will not bring myself down to his or her level. I practice good manners to others not because they are polite to me but because I choose to be polite, regardless. This is a tough lesson. It’s always easier to be kind to someone who is kind to us in return. A true test of our character is to always act virtuously.
3. Respect for the Environment (including public property, etc) – I respect others when I respect the environment we share together. I won’t be defacing classroom desks or writing on bathroom walls. I won’t put my feet on seats on the bus or movie theater. I’ll put my garbage in the trash. I will take care of the items in my home, too. I’ll take my shoes off and remember not to leave clutter around in the main areas of the home.
The more we understand the why's and how's od social interaction, the better our families will be. This creates a culture of caring and concern for others that will positively impact our communities.