First of all, I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter yesterday! I am so thankful for a Savior to celebrate, and good friends and family to do it with! We had a great day!
Now, today, I’m talking about MANNERS. Do you have them? Do you teach them to your kids?
This topic has come up in several conversations for me lately — America’s general lack of manners today, teaching our kids to say “Yes Sir” and “No Thank You,” etc. etc. etc. To be honest, it isn’t something I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about as a mom…
My dad is the ultimate gentleman… He opens doors for my mom and pulls out her chair even after thirty years of marriage. And, much to my sister’s and my embarrassment, he even stands when a female leaves a room or gets up from a table. It’s weird really, but I do appreciate it. 🙂 *I also have heard him burp maybe twice in my life. No lie.
Kathryn and I were raised to be polite and respectful to adults. My mom taught us to take a hostess gift when we go to someone’s house. We always write thank you notes. We say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, we put our napkins on our laps and don’t talk with food in our mouths, and we RSVP when we receive an invitation to an event (WHY does NO ONE do this anymore?!?!).
But, there are other things about the way I was raised, that are less formal… For example, we call our parents’ friends by their first names (always have), and I don’t have any memory of ever being formally taught/told to say things like “Yes Sir” or “No Ma’am”…
Strangely enough though, I sort-of just knew when to do those things… With my friends’ parents – for instance – I always called them Mr./Mrs. and said Sir/Ma’am. (Funny side note: Jeff’s mom is still in cell phone as “Mrs. Chapman” because I put it in there back when Jeff and I were newly dating in high school.)
All that leaves me thinking… How exactly do you teach manners? Is it necessary to strictly enforce certain manners (like Sir/Ma’am) OR is it something kids will naturally pick up on by observing you?
I definitely want Sam to have good manners/ be a gentleman. Absolutely. Already, Jeff and I stress the importance of saying “please” and “thank you.” We are working on not interrupting, and saying “pardon me” instead of “huh?” when he doesn’t understand. BUT, because I wasn’t necessarily raised with a strict emphasis on some of the more “minor” rules, it doesn’t come naturally for me to correct him when he says “Yes” instead of “Yes Sir.”
Likewise, I find myself encouraging him to call other adults (like our babysitter/neighbors/etc.) “Miss Jennifer” or “Mr. Marc” because that seems socially acceptable; but, truth be told, I think it is totally dorky. I genuinely want Sam’s friends to be comfortable calling us Elizabeth and Jeff, but I also want him to recognize when that isn’t appropriate (like when meeting an adult for the first time).
Am I making any sense at all?
I guess I’m just wanting to start the conversation about how exactly to teach manners, and which ones are worth teaching… Also, what age do you think kids should start really knowing and using manners?
What do you think? Especially those of you with older kids, how do you handle manners in your house? I’d love to hear what works (or doesn’t) for you!
P.S. Here’s a link to a 2011 article from Parents Magazine titled “25 Manners Every Kid Needs by Age 9.” It seems pretty reasonable. 🙂 (There are lots of free printables of this list circulating the blog world too. I might just add one to my piles!)