Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Does Your Family Need a Visit From Miss Manners?

I don’t mean to sound like an old fogie, however, as a children’s author and grandmother of ten, I have the good fortune (usually) to come in contact with many, many children. This has led me to ponder a huge question – “What ever happened to manners?

Do people teach manners today? I see evidence that many do, and for that, society is grateful. I personally thank you, however I think you may be the exception, rather than the rule. I only wish that everyone would consider the ways their offspring may be interacting in the world outside their homes.

Manners have changed greatly since the early days of Emily Post . If you aren’t familiar with this lady of etiquette, I urge you to check out one of her older books from the library. These books seem quite funny in today’s world, just as cell phones would seem outrageous in past generations. But she was on the right track.

Etiquette used to involve placing your silverware on the table correctly and helping old ladies cross the street. Of course, today most “old” ladies are busy working out at the gym and doing yoga, and could probably carry YOU across the street. So, in today’s busy high-tech world, manners need to keep up with the changes.

Aside from the expected good manners that include the words,” please”, “thank you” and “let me hold the door for you”, today we really should concentrate on teaching our children cellphone manners, ipod manners, and texting manners. Let’s use our common sense here and help our children learn the difference between doing what kids do and being rude to others. It’s really uncomfortable talking to a child who is listening with half an ear while texting away. My son is a doctor and often treats young patients who are busy texting during their examination. Really! The parents are always present in the room and not one has ever told their child to put the phone away. And, speaking of phones, let’s teach our children to say “Hello, this is Ray. May I please speak to Justin?” That’s so much nicer than some of the grunting messages I’ve heard lately. Also, no matter how “amazing” the song is that you are listening to on your ipod, please put it on hold if someone (especially an adult) wants to speak to you.

Not difficult. Not rocket science. Just bring back the manners. Please!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree wholeheartedly with that last paragraph!
Sadly, it's not just the children. I see adults in the bank conducting a transaction while yapping on the phone. Or at the grocery store in line yapping. Show some respect to the live person in front of you!!
And the person who gets a phone call in a movie theatre needs to be tarred and feathered - especially when they tell the caller they're doing 'nothing!'

L. Diane Wolfe

Katie Hines said...

So, so true. Even should teach them at the table to "please pass the whatever." I see so little of that nowadays; my kids do well!