A big thing to me, probably more so than whether I am disciplining my kids over mundane things, is how they carry themselves.
How they act towards others, in different situations, and I am probably endless in my tirade about manners.
Those who know me well have heard me on repeat, good manners almost always lead to good behavior.
I know there’s the exception- those of us who can smile and polite our way through any situation, but be total jerks in real life.
But when you think about it- where those good manners anyways?
Because if you teach good manners and emulate them, especially to your kids, you’re probably a decent human being.
I had this interesting conversation with E, my daughter, as we are trying to navigate some, frankly, crappy waters at school with her.
I wanted to know if she felt all the time we have put into her manners is paying off.
Her response, “I might be kind but I guess that doesn’t stop others from how they behave. But I can’t change that.”
I think it’s interesting she chose the word kind. Inherently, decent manners should make you a kinder person.
So I asked her for a list of what she thought were the best manners all kids and adults could have.
It’s interesting because it’s her perspective, not mine, but she holds a lot of similar things in high regard.
Take a look. It’s fascinating when a kid can succinctly say what matters most about being a decent human being.
E’s List of Manners (I tried hard to not edit too much, only for grammar.)
-A lot of other people will be rude or mean. Try to be kind to them. If they aren’t, walk away. They don’t know what they missed.
-Always wait for everyone to eat and always ask to be excused from the table. Don’t sit crazy because that shows the cook you don’t appreciate them.
-My mom says it’s important to always act like a lady and even sometimes ladies have to stand up for themselves. But ladies are always smart in how they stand up for themselves. Even if it means being bitchy (she let me write that!).
-Read a lot and learn a lot so that you can be prepared for different situations, but also in case you need to find a way to politely stand up for yourself. You can’t do that if you don’t know anything.
-Ask about others before talking about yourself. It’s always better to let people talk about their stuff first.
-Walk away from mean situations. Do it before you regret something that you saw, did, or said. It’s never good to be mean.
-Open doors for people. A lot of people can’t or they need help. I don’t so I can help.
-In fact, just find new ways to help people, animals, or the environment. There’s too much bad in the world and it’s bad manners to not try and find a way to help.
-Don’t ask inappropriate questions. You can ask your mommy and daddy for help to make sure what you say is ok.
-Don’t call someone by their first name unless they say you can.
-At someone else’s house or with other people, follow their rules. Their house or life is different than yours. I guess it’s up to you to remember that it’s important.
-Go through life quietly because there’s time to be loud and crazy but most of the time, you learn more by being quietly.
-Wash your hands. Did you know nails are dirtier than public toilets? Gross.
-Brush your teeth. Your breath might be gross.
*Ahem. Eva thought of a few additions for this post. See below!*
-I mentioned before that my mom always says a woman should act like a lady. That’s true. We need to teach people how to act like ladies and gentlemen again. There’s a way to be yourself but be graceful to other people.
-Don’t laugh at what other people say they like or don’t like. Don’t make fun of it. There might be a reason and besides, you should like them for who they are.
-Don’t push people in the mud. What I mean is, don’t be mean on purpose. People can be pretty terrible. Then again, that person you just pushed may have done nothing wrong.
-Think twice about what you mean before you speak. I read a book once that said, “Once spoken a word is never broken but it can break you.”
That’s the gist of her list. She’s pretty awesome and I think it’s cool that an 8 year old thinks about this.
We all talk about the different manners, behaviors, etc., we want our kids to have.
But it’s amazing what our kiddos will actually take away from those lessons and how we carry ourselves in the world.
Sparkles and Glitter,