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Good Manners Count

June 9, 2011
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

There seems to be a lack of manners in our everyday lives. And that troubles me.

Our parents taught good manners by example and hopefully we taught our children. But it seems to me that good etiquette is not on the front burner. We say "please" and "thank you" but I'm questioning the respect our young people have for their teachers and their elders. Now I'm one of the "elders" I think that gives me the right to offer some rules on some pretty questionable conduct.

I read an article online, where we get a good deal of our information these days, on "25 manners every kid should know by age 9." What should be common courtesies are included in this list, including saying "please" and "thank you."

Then we get to "do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency." It's just a matter of respect, isn't it?

Here's the rest of the list:

"If you do need to get somebody's attention right away, the phrase 'excuse me' is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation."

"When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later."

"The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults."

"Do not comment on other people's physical characteristics unless, of course, it's to complement them, which is always welcome."

"When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are."

"When you have spent time at your friend's house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had."

"Knock on closed doors and wait to see if there's a response before entering."

"When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling."

"Be appreciative and say 'thank you' for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect." Let me interject here In the past few months I have received written thank-you notes that were so meaningful I want to keep them as examples of good writing with 'personality.'

"Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant."

"Don't call people mean names."

"Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel."

"Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best."

"If you bump into somebody, immediately say 'excuse me'."

"Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don't pick your nose in public."

"As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else."

"If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say 'yes,' do so you may learn something new.

"When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile."

"When someone helps you, say 'thank you.' That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teacher!"

"Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do."

"Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary."

"Don't reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed."

Children or any age, nine and above, should know these manners. And, how about some adults taking a refresher course?

Good manners count and they leave a good impression with the people you encounter each day.

"Thank you" for reading this, from Jane Whitmore



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