This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily periodically. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Sometimes when I tell people what I do, they sort of laugh and say, “Manners? Does anybody really pay attention to manners anymore?” What I have found is that many, many people do pay attention. However, there are definite challenges that come along with promoting etiquette/manners in the today’s world. I’ve actually identified five.
Here is challenge Number Three: Getting the message out that while manners change, the principles do not. While manners are very different today than they were yesterday, and while manners differ from region to region, the principles of respect, consideration and honesty are timeless and universal; they are exactly the ones that guided Emily Post’s advice and that guide manners across regions today. The manners are simply how we articulate the principles in our relationships with others: we show respect by greeting each other with a smile, we show consideration by holding the door for our friend; we show honesty by finding the positive truth rather than telling a white lie. “Oh my gosh, I got started a little late; I’m so sorry!” rather than “The traffic was awful” when it really wasn’t.
Some manners that have gone by the wayside as society changes:
- No more manners for dealing with chaperons (kids today think chaperons are parents on field trips).
- We don’t leave calling cards on silver platters on certain days of the week.
- Kids don’t call their fathers by their title and last name.
- Women do go to social events without gloves.
- We include reply cards in wedding invitations.
- Kids are both seen and heard at the dinner table.
There are many more manners that have gone by the wayside AND there are plenty of new ones. Ask your kids what manners they think should be considered when we talk about texting. At first they won’t have any but if you ask them what would be rude or disrespectful they’ll think of several. Talking about the principles is a great way to get kids talking about manners.