“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” –Fred Astaire
Manners as Character Training in a World Gone Tech
Manners may seem like an old fashioned concept but they are one that every successful person in life is familiar with and attuned too.
What are Manners?
Manners are, simply put, “a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others.” It’s just as easy, maybe more so, to have poor manners than pleasant ones. Manners cause you to stand out in a crowd, ear-mark you as a leader and provide appropriate and clear boundaries to people in social situations.
The Importance of Teaching Manners
In an age gone tech, where digital shorthand shortchanges the English language, and often the recipient, it’s important to teach our kids the value of manners- which, at their essence, are showing that one values others as much as oneself.
Teaching our kids manners teaches them that there is an appropriate hierarchy in the world, they are not the center of the universe and that it’s a Godly value to consider others as much as one would consider themselves.
“Good Manners will open doors that the best education cannot.” Clarence Thomas
Manners: Basic Communication
Manners, good, bad or indifferent, are a simple mode of communication, and communication is the foundation of all relationships. Displaying good manners to our family –being kind and helpful, smiling at each other, for instance, is a way to communicate our love and concern for them. Treating other people with good manners is a way to convey that we see and understand that they are created in the image of God, and thus worthy of being treated as one of His Sons or Daughters.
Clothes and manners do not make the man, but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance ~Arthur Ashe
Basic Manners to teach your kids
- Say “please” and “thank-you” in your home.
- Be present when talking to others. Don’t put your phone down. Put your phone away.
- Make eye contact when meeting and talking to people.
- Learn to greet people – shake hands, introduce yourself, start a conversation.
- Learn to introduce others properly; introduce the oldest person first.
- Smile and extend a greeting.
- Say “excuse me” when you interrupt or reach across others.
- Listen well so that the other person knows they are understood.
- Teach table manners – chew with your mouth closed, use a napkin, don’t reach, pass the food, help clear, thank the cook, engage in polite conversations
- Be thoughtful and helpful to others; consider them.
- Show gratitude
- Take care of personal property
- Dress appropriately for dfferent occasions
- Teach the essentials of polite conversations and the art of small talk
- Teach proper ways to introduce others.
- Teach how to earn and show respect
- Teach appropriate text messaging, email, and texting as well as appropriate social media interaction. Be polite and be G rated.
- Teach the art of setting boundaries – saying “yes” with grace, and “no with gentle firmness.
- Don’t come empty handed- bring gifts to the host/ hostess. Flowers, a scented candle, a handwritten note.
- Don’t be the first one to walk through a door- hold the door open for others.
Manners are the basic building block of civil society. ~ Alexander McCall Smith
Teaching Manners Teaches Character
How does teaching manners teach character?
Manners asks the person:
- to consider and think about others
- serve them and
- to show self-discipline
- to show gratitude.
Teaching manners is the best way to train our kids to be considerate. In a world that is tech saturated, that allows people to work and interact with no personal investment, manners are more important than ever. Manners allow us, demand that, we see and acknowledge the humanity of others.
~A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
About the Author
Lisa Nehring has 1 husband, 2 graduate degrees, 5 kids and a black -belt in homeschooling having done so for over 25 years. She owns and operates True North Homeschool Academy, which offers live on-line classes for k-12th graders, clubs, testing and Advising. as well as a one-of-a-kind Special Needs program. Lisa teachers Latin, Writing and History and loves coming alongside fellow homeschoolers to ensure academic success! You can find her blogging at truenorthhomeschoolacademy.com or at one of her FB groups: True North Homeschool Tribe, Survive and Thrive Special Needs Homeschooling and Classical Homeschool. Check out her weekly podcast, on iTunes Soft Skills 101:Life Skills for a Digital Age https://podcasts.apple.