Manners and Courtesies

Let's talk today about teaching some fundamental principles of courtesy and manners to our children.

It's an interesting topic given the coarsening of society and the rudeness that has become so common today. That in itself is good reason for parents to teach their boys and girls a more civil way to behave. Maybe it's old fashioned, but I still think kids should be required to say "please" and "thank you" around the house. This is just one method of reminding them that ours is not a gimme-gimme world and even though their mothers are cooking for them and buying for them and giving to them, they need to show some gratitude in return. But those attitudes don't just happen automatically. Appreciation of this sort must be taught and the instructional process should begin at home with fundamental politeness to one another. A related issue is how children speak to their elders. Does it seem to you that children are far too familiar, too informal, with adults today? When I was a kid, we always addressed grownups as "Mr. and Mrs." or, if they were in the family, we called them "Uncle" or "Aunt" or "Grandpa" or "Grandma." We would never have referred to an adult as "George" or "Alice." That deference is just a thing of the past today.

Now I don't suppose this informality is harmful, but there is still a place for a certain respect in the manners of children. It puts their entire pattern of behavior on a higher plane. Do you agree?

With Focus on the Family, this is Dr. James Dobson.

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