Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Importance of Good Manners

More and more lately I am beginning to realize that more and more parents are dropping the ball in a very important area. I am not speaking in specifics towards any one of my friends I am just noticing it in children in public. I see children who are no longer taught respect to their elders, they don't know please and thank you. Children taught to take what they want when they want it, and to have very little regard for other people's feelings.

Some of these parents see teaching good values, kindness, compassion, thoughtfulness and good old-fashioned good manners as teaching their children to be weak. However, I argue that the opposite is true. It takes more grace and dignity to allow someone to insult you (making them look like a jerk) without saying something in return. It is much harder to remain silent when others are not polite or do things that make you crazy - whether it is touching another person's laundry instead of patiently waiting your turn or it's as simple as cutting in line at the store because for some reason you think you are more entitled to being at the front of the line than other people who have waited their turn. We see examples of this each and every day. And it is hard as Christians to wait and trust that even though they are being jerks right now, doesn't mean that they won't reap what they sow, but the Bible tells us this is true. We see it in Job 4:7 & 8 "'Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it." Also in 2 Corinthians 9:6 "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

It is when we are kind, generous, and thoughtful to others that we show them how Christ wants us to live. Never is this more important than in the lessons we teach our children. It's good to see a larger number of parents slowly teaching their children to be thoughtful and courteous to others. Think of teaching your children manners in this way - when you teach your children to say "please, thank you, and yes sir/no sir etc. . ." You are teaching them a portion of the golden rule. They are treating others the way they want to be treated. I know it isn't always a popular concept these days in a world where we are all told how much we are entitled to this or we deserve that and yet, it is because of the world we live in that it is extremely important to raise our children (and yes even your special needs children) how to live by the golden rule. Even Elizabeth is expected to speak to those who are older than her with respect, it's rude to interrupt, say "please and thank you" and to wait her turn in line. We began these teaching when she first began to become verbal and we made it a point to live it out in front of our girls. I have a friend who worked in customer service for a cellular service provider and she often found that when she would stop, listen to the customer and used excellent manners that the most irate customers often calmed down and she was able to help resolve their issues. I too found it very true while working customer service for a cruise line company and a kitchen ware catalogue company I worked for. So the saying, "You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar" really is true.

Most people want good customer service and they desire to have people in the world speak to them with kindness and patience. Even if they don't give you the same courtesy, it is still important to show them kindness. You never know what seeds you'll be sowing by being kind to others.

I hope you all have a good rest of the week and that it goes smoothly and without a lot of excitement. :D
Love in Christ,

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