How gorgeous are my sisters?! I wish my brother could've been there, but he's in Scotland playing golf. Tough life. :-)
My youngest sister graduated from high school this past weekend. I'm so proud of her and the wonderful person that she is. I am not proud, however, of the way people from my old high school acted during her graduation. It was, honestly, the biggest display of crazy that I've seen in a while.
Despite the principal's instructions of "holding all applause until the end", there were people yelling insane nicknames after their grad walked, people taking phone calls during the National Anthem, and people acting like they had not one bit of home training.
And the thing that's even more disturbing is that I don't remember this kind of behavior from my graduation or from my brother's. I remember a few people acting out of line at my sister, Jessica's graduation 2 years ago. But Sarah's, just 10 years after mine, was a complete animal house. This really got me scared about where our society is heading. Ahhhhh!!!
So, I thought of 6 ways we can teach our kids manners, in response to this. I know there are way bigger issues than just manners...but we have to start somewhere!
1. Teach them by example. If you lash out because someone is taking too long ordering in front of you, say rude things about people, and use bad language, your kids will as well. On the flip side, if you are patient with others, serve people around you, and use your time wisely, your kids are more likely to do the same.
2. Give them opportunities to use good manners. Take them to short performances, to restaurants, to church, etc., where they have to use their good manners. This doesn't mean that they will behave perfectly right away, but eventually they will catch on. My mom took me everywhere with her, and I learned so much from those experiences.
3. Let others teach them. There is no way you can teach your child everything. It truly takes a village to raise a child, I believe. That's why it's important to make sure your kids are participating in the arts and in sports. Doing so allows them the opportunity to have good mentors to show them how to behave well in different settings.
4. Look people in the eye. This one sounds so silly....but it's true. I know way too many people that don't look others straight in the eyes when they're having a conversation. Not to say that you have to maintain firm eye contact the entire time...but when you don't look at someone's eyes, you are showing that person and your children (who are watching you ever so closely), that personal relationships don't matter.
5. Don't always bash the "other person". When your child comes to you with a problem they're having with another person, and you are constantly finding fault with the other person, your children will never learn how to face challenges and handle situations themselves. It's important to support your child, but teach them that there are 2 sides to every story. And on the other end, don't play devil's advocate constantly. It's hard to find a nice balance, I know. If you only take the other person's side, your child won't come to you with their issues, and that would be a shame to lose that connection with them.
6. Teach them the importance of work. When a child knows the value of hard work, they are more likely to be more respectful of people around them and of situations.
I am, in no way, an expert when it comes to this matter...and my kids are still learning about this, but I'm trying hard to teach them the best I can every day.
What is something you think will help teach our children manners?