Many parents may feel that they cover this at home. However, the reality is that parents are very busy with their children’s after school schedule. Some families don’t have time to eat together or much less talk (have a conversation). Parents can’t assume that their children will “get” it through osmosis. It’s an ongoing process that needs practice. Children don’t just slip on good manners when it counts, for example at an expensive restaurant or job interview. They should be striving to practice this all of the time. Each point below describes how children should begin to understand what each of these points should look like whether they are dealing with family, friends, or strangers.
- Respect for Self – my attitude makes all the difference in how I am treated. If I insist on being respected then I’m not a target for bullies, for the most part. My happiness rests inside of myself rather than expecting people to make me happy all of the time. I can be responsible for my choices. If I have hurt someone, then I can make amends rather than blaming others for what I did through my own fault.
- Respect for Others – I am sensitive to the needs of others and can begin to be aware of how my actions affects others whether negatively or positively. I am not the centre of the universe!! I extend good, proper behaviour out of consideration for others. I hope this will be reciprocated to me, also. Even if someone acts rudely to me, I will not bring myself to his or her level. I practice good manners to others not because they are polite to me but because I choose to be polite, regardless. This is a tough lesson. It’s always easier to be kind to someone who is kind in return to us. A true test of our character is being virtuous always.
- Respect for the Environment (including public property, etc) – I respect others when I respect the environment we share together. I won’t be defacing classroom desks or writing on bathroom walls. I won’t put my feet on seats on the bus or movie theatre. I’ll put my garbage in the trash and not leave it around.
In the Fall, I will be bringing my program of etiquette training to young people at Scenic Acres Community Association. My course involves role-playing, games along with some instructional information to help students understand what etiquette looks like and why it’s so important. I welcome parents to join the classes, also. The more we understand how to better interact together, the better will be our families. This creates a culture of caring and concern for others that will positively impact our communities.
Maria Doll, certified Etiquette Trainer
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