If I was ever asked what I would put into Room 101 I know what would be top of my list. People with bad manners! Drives me crazy. The people who never say please or thank you, don’t acknowledge that you’ve held a door open for them and then, in return, would let it slam in your face (usually when you are weighed down with bags, and barely a spare arm). Don’t even get me started on lack of manners when someone gets behind a wheel! I can feel the anger rising already.
Generally, I’m a fairly placid person, but I hate rudeness! There really is no excuse for it and I see it on a daily basis in the kids I teach. I know kids will be kids and they are quite often selfish little critters who only worry about what is going on in their lives, but I believe basic manners are so important.
This is an example of a fairly typical conversation in my classroom:
Pupil: Miss I need a new book!
Me: Do you?
Awkward silence before one of the others (who has learnt from experience) prompts that they may need to ask for a book.
Pupil: “Can I have a new book?”
Me: “and what have you forgotten?”
We get there in the end!
Sometimes I don’t even think they know they are being rude. It just doesn’t occur to them to use manners of any sort. My annoying quote to the kids is always “Good manners don’t cost anything, but they might make someone’s day a little bit nicer!” Which usually gets a few eyes rolled in my direction from those young ones who think they’re too cool for school.
I was brought up to always have good manners, and try to pass that on to O. My mum would visibly cringe if I forgot to say please and thank you. As a result, if anything I am overly polite. Seriously, going through the McDonalds Drive-Thru I’m conscious I’ve said thanks about 7 times in a 30 second order!
Ever since Little O had the vaguest awareness of what was happening around him, I have tried to reinforce the importance of manners. He has said Please (peas) and Ta for months now and is just moving onto Thank You. I know there will be times when he forgets but hopefully they’ll be a little voice in the back of his mind saying “remember your manners”.
Good manners are instilled at a young age and that has to start at home. As a teacher I see children with impeccable manners, luckily at my school this is the majority, and they are a delight. It also makes the kids without manners stand out so much more. It may seem a small thing, but I honestly believe it feeds into the type of adult they will grow into and having manners is a general awareness of other people, their feelings and treating them with respect. Surely we all want our children to grow into considerate and thoughtful grown ups, I know that’s what I want for my little boy.
So please parents, remember to teach your kids good manners. Thank you!