One of our jobs as moms is to teach our kids manners. From the dinner table to being out in public, we spend quite a bit of time working on our kids manners – and probably more time than we realize! But at the same time, are we thinking as much about our own manners? Are we being good etiquette roll models for our kids?
I bet you have the napkins and not talking with your mouth full and holding the door and please and thank you down pat. But what about the more subtle manners issues like listening completely, tone of voice, not interrupting, and the other small ways we use manners to let people know we care. In our increasingly interrupt-driven world, it can be hard to demonstrate and maintain manners at this level. But it is so worth the effort. Thing is, manners aren’t just actions, they are one of the ways we communicate.
Manners are one of the ways we let others know we care about them, that we aren’t just thinking about ourselves – and they are one of the ways we put the Golden Rule into action. We treat others the way we want to be treated. If we want people to say “Please” and “Thank you” to use, then we need to be consistent about saying it to others (our kids included!). And manners build from there, for all of us. It’s communication and respect.
But, let’s face it, we are all increasingly busy. There are more and more demands on our time, and more and more things we feel we need to “get done” or respond to or whatever. In that, some of our manners are struggling to stay afloat. With the demands to move on to the next thing on the to do list, sometimes manners fall to the wayside.
Do as I say, not as I do
While it’s easy to find excuses in our own behaviors and occasional lack of manners, our kids are watching and mimicking us – and we’re often harsh on our kids when we really should be a little more consistent ourselves. Our kids are just following our lead, after all!
If we want kids to really listen to us, we need to listen to them and to others. If want them to not interrupt us, we need to not interrupt them – or others. If we want them to really think about how they are interacting with the world, we need to demonstrate that in every way, to them and in front of them – and even when they are not around.
Slow down and do it right
If we want our kids to interact with the world in an appropriate way, if we want them to use manners, we need to slow down and demonstrate ALL manners to them, from please and thank you to table manners to holding doors to listening and generally being the change we want to see in the world.
So check your manners. Really think about what your are asking of your kids as far as etiquette goes – and what you are demonstrating to them about the same issues. We all need to work to make the world a better, nicer place – and one of the places we can start is with good manners.