Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Manners, Please!

I grew up in a family of six, two parents and four children. Our household operated like most with lots of laundry, chores, laughing, fussing, crying, disagreements, disappointments, school activities, piano lessons, sports, jobs...the works! Every family has their own set of how to do certain things and ours was no different. And like most parents, mine set out to have a home that operated smoothly and somehow landed in the middle of their goals. I think that is called life! But there was one area where the middle just wouldn't do and that was with regard to our manners! We were taught to say "yes ma'am, yes sir, no ma'am, no sir, please and thank you." We were expected to use those phrases on a regular basis. When I went to college I had friends from different parts of the country that did not understand why I used those terms to college professors or any other adults. Are you kidding me? Why not use those phrases, I always thought! That is just what we do! While I thought I was showing respect, their thoughts were the opposite. They would say it was being sassy. It didn't stop my use of the terms that were so ingrained in me, I still use manners every day. Actually I say please and thank you 100 times a day since I have to ask for help doing certain tasks! In fact I think I say those words more than any other in my vocabulary! Jeff and I taught and required our children to use polite ways to address us and other adults. I won't mislead you into thinking it is any easy lesson, although you would think it might be. It should be easy to teach them to put their clothes away without being told, or not wait until the last minute to start a project or paper for school, or never ask if you can have a friend spend the night in front of the friend in case you want to say no! The list could go on, right? I have experienced endless conversations with my kids that ended in, "ma'am ?" or " excuse me what should you say?". Multiply endless by four kids and that equals countless! But somehow I determined it important enough to stick to it and see it through! Eventually you will begin to see results that are worth the investment of time and energy. There's just something about a twelve year old that has disobeyed and is smart enough to remember to say "yes ma'am" or "no sir" in the heat of battle that makes you think maybe they are really good at heart and you won't kill them this time! Seriously! I can remember our children beginning to say " thanks, mom for dinner" or "thanks dad for taking us to the movie." Oh the feeling that accompanies the right response! Success! You are getting somewhere with your kids and both parties know it. They won't always like it, but they know what to do, how to behave and respond and it is good! I have had the opportunity this summer to listen to Joseph on the phone with recruiters or possible employers and have been impressed with the way he communicates respect! I guess i will never tire of the use of good manners! Will you please commit to staying the course of teaching a life lesson that will benefit you and your child? THANK YOU!


  1. Nancy,
    You are so right on many levels with this blog subject. I totally agree with you on the point that children should be taught this and as parents, Ray and I have always required/requested our children to do this.
    When we lived in FL and IL ... parents for the most part thought we were crazy for doing this and most even encouraged our kids NOT to do it.
    We would say ... and the kids would say.. " O no Mam... we like this."
    Other kids would say to our kids.. "Don't do that or my parents my try and make me do it." It is so sad. Now that we are back in the South... I am so thankful that many kids are still doing this and parents are still teaching it. You and jeff, Ashley and Scott and even all the big Chandler's... Adam, Ashley, Erin etc.... all of "The Clan" lol has always served as a great role model for others, myself, Ray and my kids included in terms of manners and respect! As they say in Arkansas... u done good! Anyway, I believe the same way you do on this subject so count us in!

  2. So, when did it get to the point when you didn't have to correct your kids over & over & over with the "yes ma'ams & no ma'ams?" Sometimes I feel like I miss teaching other things b/c I'm focused so much on manners. But, then I'll focus on those other things & then realize how rude my kids sound. It's like spinning plates around here ;) I don't think there's anyone on Earth with more wisdom on this subject than you. Any other advice you have to share on manners would be wonderful!!


  3. Oh, I love this post! THANK YOU! I particularly remember the "don't ask if someone can spend the night in front of them" rule. I think Rebekah and I both got snagged on that one a few times.

    Love you!

  4. Great post! You have such a way with making your point and I love the references to your own childhood and teaching your kids those things that stay for life.