The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any – Fred Astaire
One of my big things in life is manners – or the lack of them! When I learnt to drive in the UK in the 1990s (feeling old again!) I was taught by my instructor and my parents to wave or flash my lights in thanks if someone had given way to me. I was also taught from a very young age that please and thank-you got you a long way in life and if you didn’t use them you normally didn’t get what you wanted!
I drove home from work last night and stopped at the supermarket on my way; no-one said thank-you as I held the door open in the supermarket – there was absolutely no acknowledgement that I was even there! The same happened when I stopped on a street that had a long line of parked cars to let someone else come past. As a kid I always moaned when my mum made me write a thank-you letter when I’d received a birthday or Christmas present, but it’s a tradition I still keep now; a personal note of thanks is always well received.
Children learn so much from what they see and hear, whether they’re paying attention or not. One of the people who I held the door for in the supermarket for had two children with her, yet she didn’t say thank-you to me; that simple act would have taught her children some manners! I make a really big thing of this at school – I reward good manners in the classroom and make sure that they always say please and thank-you.
Manners don’t cost anything but, like many other ‘free’ things they’re becoming seen as old fashioned. Just taking a moment to thank or help someone will make them feel valued and will brighten their day.