My parents worked hard to teach me good manners and for this I feel quite fortunate and grateful. As always, I am a continuous work in progress and I have far from perfected all forms of manners. I do however strive to set a good example for my kids when it comes to simple etiquette and common courtesies.
I stand wholeheartedly behind the power of manners and courtesy. I will take on anyone who rolls their eyes about the importance of teaching these skills to their children, for they will be sending their offspring out into the world with a severe disadvantage. I guarantee you that, when it comes to job interviews and promotions and just plain life, simple etiquette and common courtesy will take children much further in life than the guy or gal who knows not of manners.
These skills – learned primarily by example – help children to be more genuinely grateful rather than entitled, to have more friends and meaningful relationships, and to realize that we are all interconnected. Quite simply, manners help us to be more human.
These are a few of the many skills that children of all ages – and frankly humans of all ages – will do well by understanding and working toward practicing as much as possible:
- When, how and why to thank someone.
- How to listen and not interrupt, and to let others speak (I am always trying to improve on this one).
- Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact. Why it matters.
- The importance of introductions and inclusiveness in group settings.
- How to be thoughtful.
- How to eat at a formal dinner table and sit still at a restaurant. Even just the basics will empower kids later in life.
- The art of being humble rather than boastful and aware of others’ feelings (This one is a peeve of mine.).
- How to make note (whether electronically or otherwise) of important dates or events for other people and recognize them every once in a while.
- Respect for elders (No matter how old school they might seem).
- To politely greet and acknowledge a new person in their home or environment.
- To hold a door open for a person behind them when they are in close range.
- How to actually apologize (It’s amazing how many people really don’t understand how to genuinely apologize. You’re not apologizing if you don’t truly own your actions. See The One Minute Apology.) And no child is too young to learn how to apologize and recognize others’ feelings.
- Letting someone go ahead of them in a long line every now and then.
- How to say please and thank you consistently and nicely.
- How to be compassionate.
- Helping those less fortunate or ill, whether it be by raking their lawn, shoveling a walk or making a meal.
- Being helpful at a retail establishment even when it’s not your job (I’m baffled by how shocked grocery checkers are at my local store when they are short-staffed and I roll up my sleeves and start bagging my own groceries instead of standing there watching. How is this not a given?)
- Occasionally helping strangers who may have simply dropped something or who may be unable to reach or do something.
- Why, when and how to say excuse me when you bump into someone or walk in front of them, interrupt them, etc. (Another peeve of mine.)
- The art of writing a simple thank you note.
- How to give someone your full attention.
- When to PUT THE PHONE AWAY. (When having a conversation or meal with someone, when at a restaurant (get up and take the call outside), when at a social event. Trust me, if it’s important they will call more than once.)
- How to not be condescending to service people or wait staff no matter how old you are or how important you think you are (I’ve always thought of this as a sure way to really know if I like someone).
Thanks to the gals over at Grown and Flown for their post today which spurred my manners
rant post: http://grownandflown.com/millennials-need-good-manners/.
What is your biggest manners pet peeve?