I recently read a post about manners on one of the millions of parenting sites that spring up on my Facebook and twitter feed. It was asking whether manners are old fashioned and how our expectations of children have changed over the years.
Should boys still hold open doors for girls? Should children stand up when adults enter a room? Should your toddler say please and thank you?
Now the boys are 2 they understand that they have to say please and thank you and even though they probably have no idea why we're doing it, it is an important habit that I want to them to form. We have a lot of play dates and we always thank both the child for sharing their toys and the mother for inviting us or we thank them for making the journey to come and see us. This is a habit that has been instilled in me since I was a child and I was always reminded to say 'thank you' when I was invited round to a friends house.
We have finally managed to create and post off all of our 'thank you' cards for birthday/Christmas, it took ages but it was important that we finished them. I am always a little surprised if children don't send thank you cards for their presents, but maybe that's just me. It's quicker and easier not to send traditional cards or a modern e-card, but even though we all have busy lives is it not still important to say 'thank you'?
I work a couple of evenings in a supermarket and if somebody asks "where are the mushrooms"...the first thing that springs to my mind is "now, what's the magic word?". How hard is it to stick that extra word on the end of your sentence? Are your tongue and mouth muscles feeling extra lazy today, you miserable...? Anyway, I digress...
I don't think it's about being strict, but I think that we should be grateful for day to day things, whether it's the brief encounter with the shop assistant as she locates the mushrooms or a friend who has had us over for tea. It shows people that they are appreciated and everybody deserves to be appreciated.
I used to work in a lovely place where the men would always hold the door open for women and I loved that. I don't understand people that feel offended by it, it is just a show of consideration and politeness. Some manners like these are probably becoming slightly outdated, but others such holding doors open especially for the elderly or for someone with a pushchair I think shows consideration and empathy.
I think our opinion on what constitutes good manners varies, but in my opinion manners are about being grateful, courteous and considerate in ones behaviour.
What manners are important to you and your toddler(s)? Do you send 'thank you' cards?