Warning! Begin rant:
I’m angry. And you know what? That’s rare for me.
So, what has me all upset? The fact that common manners aren’t so common anymore.
It feels like as though those of us with manners are swimming upstream, in a river of rudeness.
Though my kids are still small, they will quickly grow into adults. Basic manners are are a foundation and are taught over time.
At the risk of sounding incredibly old fashioned, here are the top ten courtesies that we are teaching Katie (and will teach Matthew as he grows):
- Always say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
- When someone is speaking to you, make eye contact and acknowledge that you are being spoken to.
- When someone sneezes, acknowledge it. We say, bless you, but you could also say gesundheit or salud, which mean good health.
- When a guest comes to our home, greet them properly. (A simple hi will suffice while they’re still little.)
- When someone compliments you, accept the compliment by saying thank you. Don’t negate the compliment in any way.
- Hold the door for others. Never let the door close in someone else’s face. When the door is held for you, don’t just walk through it– thank the person who held it.
- When waiting to get on an elevator, always allow those who are already on to exit before you enter. This holds true for entering a building as well.
- When walking down a hallway, corridor, or sidewalk, don’t walk in a group that blocks others. Also, don’t stop and converse—step to the side to allow others to pass easily.
- Respect others. You may not always agree with their ideas, but you can disagree respectfully.
- Have a general awareness of others. If you bump into someone, apologize. If they drop something, pick it up for them. If someone in a car stops to let you cross the street, wave to them in thanks.
There are many other manners that they will need to learn, as they grow older, but these are a start.
Solid manners are a tool for our children to take out into the world.
It doesn’t take that much longer to be polite. Basic manners make life more pleasant. And what a better world it is when we practice basic courtesy.
I refuse to give up. I will keep reminding myself of Mahatma Gandhi’s words: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”