What Role Do Manners Play In Developing Kids’ Respect and Discipline?
Last week I asked the question "What did your generation have, that kids today need more of? There was one response that clearly outperformed the others. What is it, and what does teaching good manners have to do with it?
There were a lot of good answers. When Mike and I talked about it, we didn't come up with really serious answers. Mike said Saturday Morning cartoons. While I said unscheduled downtime.
Kids these days seemingly can't find either. Cartoons on Saturday morning just aren't a thing. Not to mention, it seems like kids always have some type of organized thing going on. Ya know, ya gotta have the sports, activities, and community service hours to have the edge on those college applications.
Yet many of you gave a more serious answer. Jenna said, "Discipline and responsibilities." "Respect and work ethic," said Trina. Sherry n Billy echoed those thoughts, "Respect and work ethic, Discipline & responsibilities" which Sheri and Kathi echoed.
There were other comments, a little more along the lines of the one's Mike and I provided. Like Jeff's comment, "Tang." Or Rchel's comment, "Silence." Or Amber's suggestion of less electronics and Rachel's suggestion of hugs. Yet the tone running through most of the answers was respect, discipline, and work ethic.
No one mentioned manners, surprisingly. Yet in my mind, if we're talking discipline, respect, responsibilities, and work ethic. I think you can make the argument it starts with manners. At least manners, in my mind, are part of the equation that creates a wonderful, respectful, disciplined, young man or woman.
So when I saw this list of "12 Manners Older Generations Were Taught As Children" on Dusty Old Thing I had to take a look and see which ones might help give kids the discipline and respect they'll need throughout life:
- The Golden Rule - If you wouldn't like it, don't do it to someone else. This seems to me to be a cornerstone of respect. It also seems like it's something that gets easily lost in our "I've got mine, the heck with you" society that we seem to live in.
- Using niceties like please and thank you, and saying yes ma'am and yes sir. Please and thank you are just nice to use when asking for something, or receiving something. Respecting adults, by answering yes ma'am and yes sir, once again is showing respect.
- Never argue with an adult - I don't know how I feel about this. Dusty Old Thing goes on to talk about how smarting off to an adult was worse than arguing in their list. I'm not opposed to young folks respectfully disagreeing with an adult. The key is being respectful about it and also knowing when it's appropriate, and when it's better to take your lumps. Not smarting off though, I agree with that. In my mind, navigating this manner teaches both lessons in respect and discipline, as well as developing the skills of standing up for yourself and getting people to take you seriously.
- Not interrupting adults - This was tough to do as a kid, sometimes. Yet, once again it's a discipline thing, right?
The rest of the manners Dusty Old Thing lists I'm not sure really help kids learn responsibility or discipline or a good work ethic. A few seem old-fashioned. Yet, mostly I wouldn't argue against teaching your kids most of these skills. Why? They teach consideration and politeness, and they build character.
Isn't that what we're really talking about when it's all said and done? Character? We want to raise our kids to be thoughtful, respectful, wonderful human beings. That takes character. Manners, when it's all said in done, are part of that learning process.