You're wondering why I even bother?
Sometimes I wonder myself. It takes so much time, effort, and endless repeating.
So I was talking with our oldest son not too long ago. He's grown-up, gone, and away at college.
And here's what he told me over the phone . . .
"Thank you (ha! Did you hear that?). I never really understood why all the fuss about good manners. But you know, now that I'm out in the world . . . ? Well, I'm really glad you took the trouble. Because it has actually come in handy out here.
I never realized how a simple "please" and "thank you" and looking someone straight in the eyes would go so far. But mom, it's helped me with my relationships, with getting a job, and just getting around."
Whew. All that trouble actually paid off!
All those multiple reminders and promptings.
Sometimes bordering on downright nagging.
And he thanked me for it.
What d'ya know? It's worth the trouble---more than worth it!
So why bother to teach our kids good manners?
Prepares our children for their future.
"You play how you practice." That's what husband tells our kids all the time. And it's what his father used to say to him.
Sure, it doesn't seem like a big deal to be polite at the dinner table when the only people around are your parents and siblings. But this is a terrific place to practice good manners, so when you're invited to dinner with your future boss, you don't even have to think about it. You've been practicing for this moment! You can focus on the conversation because those table manners are like second nature to you.
Teaches our children to be thoughtful.
When you're saying "please," it's a way of acknowledging that we are entitled to nothing. Please is a powerful word that changes a demand into a request. It also communicates humility and graciousness.
We say "thank you" because everything is a gift and should be acknowledged as such. Adding a simple "thanks" to the person on the other side of the counter who hands you a drink is communicating that you're grateful---not only for the beverage, but for the service as well.
Courtesy is another word for caring.
When you open the door for the person behind you, it's a quiet way of saying, I'm looking out for you. I don't even know you, but I care for you. When you give the other person eye contact when speaking with them, you're telling them that you're giving your full attention---because you value what is being said . . . and the person saying it too.
So please, moms, let's take the time and the trouble to teach our children good manners.
They'll probably even thank you some day for it!
Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
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