We discussed in the previous articles on how being thankful is vital in having good manners! In everything we do we should give thanks! 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Being thankful and doing little things for family members is where it starts!
- Children should be taught to always say thank you to anyone who helps or serves them in any way. There are actually many reasons to thank someone, such as when we come in contact with a soldier, thank him for his service to our country. We must be the example! If being thankful is a habit with us, it will become a habit with the children. And don’t forget to teach them to always say “you’re welcome when others say “thank you” to them.
- Family mealtimes are a perfect opportunity to teach and practice good manners! Turn off the TV and the phone so the family can enjoy each other’s company and pay attention to what is being said without distractions. Mealtime is the perfect time for demonstrating how to set the table and teaching social graces. “Please pass the peas.” “Thanks.” “May I pour you a glass of milk, water, etc.?” Would you like some potatoes? Etc. These graces go a long way in teaching good habits to our children and will become habits with them for the rest of their lives.
- Children should be taught to shake hands and to make eye contact when they are introduced to someone. How often have you been introduced to a child and when you stick out your hand to shake hands with them their hand is limp and they look down or somewhere else other than look into your eyes? Our children should be taught to shake hands and make eye contact with those whom they meet for the first time and those they see after a time. They should give them a welcome handshake!
- Teach our children when visitors or guests come to our home to welcome them and make them feel comfortable. That is what hospitality is all about, making others feel comfortable. No matter what their ages are, teach them to ask the visitors, even if they are relatives, “May I take your coat, jacket, or bags, etc.” or “May I get you something to drink?” As hosts it is our responsibility to make our visitors, no matter who they are, feel comfortable and welcome! As parents we must be the example! And if we have dogs have we trained them to also be respectful of visitors and guests? Do they jump up on people when they walk in the door? Pet owners consider their dogs part of the family and treat them that way. So if that is true then should they be exempt from having manners? Have you ever seen the Traveler’s Insurance commercial? The dog in their commercial is cute and obedient but he was trained to do the things he does! Dogs are easy to train and it is never too late to start! There are many dog training secrets on the Internet today that are very helpful. If we love and respect others as we love ourselves then we will teach and train our pets to also show respect, that is a part of good manners!
- Teach children to show respect for their elders. Many adults today have forgotten how to show respect for their elders and this funnels down to the children. You have heard the expression, “Monkey see, Monkey do.” That is so true when it comes to our children and what they see us do! As adults do we stand when visitors come to our home, even if those visitors are aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, neighbors or anyone else? It used to be proper and normal to stand up when any elder entered the room and children should be taught to do that as a sign of respect. It is still proper and should still be the norm.
- Teach them that they should not invade other people’s space by touching things that don’t belong to them. Things that belong to other people should be respected. If children want to pick up something to look at they should ask permission and that also goes for us as adults. We set the example in having good manners!
Always remember that training our children to have good manners is never out of date! And that goes for us as adults because we are their examples!
- Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Having good manners is being thoughtful of others and love is the foundation. God first loved us and instructed us to love one another and having good manners and being polite is one of the vital keys in expressing that love to others!
- John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
For those in the Lexington and London, KY area and would like to understand more of God’s Word please click here. And for those in the Louisville, KY area please click here, and Henderson, KY click here.
To learn more about teaching our children manners see the Family Minute website.
Also see the Life Hope and Truth website for articles on relationships!