As a parent to five children…yes…FIVE, I’m constantly reminding them to mind their manners. A day doesn’t go by without me uttering several if not more of the following phrases…
“What’s the magic word?”
“Please, say good morning to Mr./Mrs. so-and-so.”
“Did you say thank you?”…
The list goes on and on…
However, I’m beginning to think that I’m part of a dying breed of parents. Is raising children with good manners something that society just simply doesn’t value anymore? Well, I’m not quite convinced because I often receive compliments from people concerning my children’s manners. Are my children’s manners at finishing school levels? No, but they’re good enough to get noticed by others. Are my children perfect? Not by a long shot, but my husband and I believe that it is part of our parenting responsibility to let our children know when they’re not exhibiting good manners and help them improve.
I honestly believe that as a society we want children to be well mannered and it’s beneficial to everyone; however, the actually lengthy process of reaching this goal is a paradox in itself. How can children learn to be well mannered when their parents don’t exactly possess the skills themselves and/or take the time to focus on developing these important skills?
The answer simply stated is that it becomes the school’s responsibility. If children aren’t able to learn manners at home, then schools need to focus on developing and instilling these skills in their pupils. Recently, my friend, who is a former teaching colleague, shared with me that she often addresses children’s poor manners in her school; however, she finds it utterly frustrating because other teachers don’t place the same importance correcting children’s manners. Therefore, the inconsistency among the school staff has led to a chaotic mix of well-mannered and ill-mannered children at the school, which isn’t a pleasant mix.
The solution to this is that schools need to place a precedent on instilling good manners in children from nursery until they graduate and head off into the real world. Currently, education is so focused on academic achievement, that personal and social development is falling by the wayside, despite government curriculum initiatives. It’s one thing to teach a topic, but it’s entirely something else to follow through with the message on a daily basis. This consistency is necessary in order for our children to develop not only academically but also as polite, kind members of our community.
So, if your children or students currently don’t say please and thank you…don’t fret…simply go and do your manners ‘homework’ as a parent!! Start simply and work your way up.
If you’re an educator and believe that the children in your school need some ‘manners support’, then make this a whole school initiative. It doesn’t work if only one teacher is on board. Everyone needs to work together and believe in the need to make a change.
Go now and ponder the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.”
Then do something to make a change in your community! Let’s do this together for the betterment of our children!