Over the weekend I was waiting around a crowded dance studio while my daughter was rehearsing for an upcoming recital. When I say crowded, I mean standing room only and you better hope everyone is wearing deodorant. I navigated my way over to a spot by the bathroom door. Everyone who came by politely asked to get by me. Then a mom shoved passed me to get in there. I mumbled under my breath it's called Excuse Me. About 10 minutes later the woman's daughter came running over to her, said I need to go to the bathroom and pushed passed her mother to go in. The mother looked annoyed and said to her daughter that was rude! I had to bite my tongue, I really wanted to say “The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!”
I've heard it said kids learn more by what is caught then what is taught. Plain English; if you want your kids to mind their manners then YOU better be minding your manners. That's true in other areas of life too: respect, language, politeness, etc. Have you ever heard your child repeat something you know they got from you? And it's usually something you wish they didn't hear!
As a former teacher, I can tell you that when a child was in my class that was raised to be respectful it made a huge difference. The opposite was also true. I get a lot of compliments on my daughter and how polite she is. My son is getting there, he's pretty good with Please and Thank You. We work in our house a lot with manners and respect. Stopping and correcting them in a loving way while explaining why we have to be polite is key. But honestly it would be all for not if my husband and I weren't also minding our manners.
It always surprises me when people looked shocked when my children or I act polite. It is a sad world when the accepted social norm is rude, obnoxious, and selfish. Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That's what I'm trying to do and teach, one Please, Thank You, and Excuse Me at a time.