I picked up a book called, How To Raise A Lady by Kay West. It’s never too late to learn (and teach) manners and this book is full of them. Though the book focuses on daughters, good manners are appropriate for daughters and sons.
One focus of the book is for parents to display great manners. If this is done consistently, it’s very likely their kids will also display great manners. Though “Do as I do and not as a say” is a common sentiment from parents, children learn more through modeling than verbal instruction. Constantly modeling great manners, attitudes, and discipline is quite a task. Thankfully, the Lord uses parents, mistakes and all, to raise well-behaved, mannerly, and faithful children.
TThese seven manners (from the book) should be instilled in children:
Leave things better than you find them.
This applies to spaces and situations. In spaces, start by keeping your own stuff picked up, and then straighten up and make things nicer than when you entered a room. Make your bed, especially after staying as a guest in someone’s home. Pick up your dishes, keep your stuff tidy, and avoid rearranging a bunch of things. In situations, work that last couple of minutes to square things away to avoid future confusion or issues.
Be a gracious loser and a generous winner.
No one wants to be around a sore loser or bragging winner. Congratulate the winner, encourage others, do your best, and enjoy the process as well as the outcome. Encouraging your team, friends, and family is a good habit that is also very mannerly.
Shows respect to adults by standing when introduced.
Introducing children or teens to adults is an important step in their learning to make their own introductions in the future. When being introduced to someone, children and teens should stand, smile, make eye contact, and receive an extended hand if offered.
Wait to begin eating until everyone has been seated and a blessing has been given.
Whenever possible, wait to begin eating until after everyone is seated and a prayer of blessing is prayed. Even when a meal is done in stages (for example waffles, toast, or anything from a griddle), practice good manners by saying please and thank you; not reaching over anyone; and not chewing with your mouth open or talking with food in your mouth.
Never use vulgar words.
Curse words and other vulgar vocabulary are unbecoming of anyone, especially a young lady. Don’t get into that habit, and stop if you are. Parents will do well to clean up their own language so their children can create good habits in this area.
Avoid name-calling or jokes that disparage someone else.
Picking on someone else never increases your standing. You will always be more respected, more attractive, and more well received by others if you are not picking on people or joking at their expense.
Don’t be consumed by a device or screen when talking with others.
Parents must build in boundaries for their children regarding screen time. Devices should not be present at the dinner table, during family time, while playing group games, or during other activities. Children should be taught that human connections are more important than phones.
What other manners might be added to this list?
The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to instill great manners. It’s never too late to start!