Yes manners - Is anyone out there teaching manners and life skills? Kids can only learn manners and life skills from their parents. So Parents - are you listening?
It absolutely bugs me that so much of society has let their manners fall by the wayside. "What Every Child Should Learn Before You Let Them Fly the Coop - Life 101" by William Hageman was published in the Courant today. It is a great article.
At Camp Aunt Patty we had a chore list - heck I have a chore list just for me each day so that my daily routine stays pretty much intact so I get a real life and plenty of play time. The kids got to decide what chores they were capable of and those that they needed skills - I taught them.
There are simple skills that by five years old they should be able to set the table, ok not the good china; make a bed; sort clothes for the laundry and answer the phone politely. Of course there is the dinner table etiquette. Come on folks, saying please and thank you, using a napkin, chewing with your mouth closed, not talking with food in your mouth, elbows - yes no elbows on the table while eating. Geez mom, I sound like you! By the time I was six to seven years old, I could navigate a multicourse meal in the company of adults while precariously sitting on several Manhattan phone books to reach the table - thank you Uncle Bob.
One other (only kidding) item that bugs me - meeting someone new. The other weekend I was introduced to a playmate of my oldest niece (13 yr old). Her eyes didn't make contact, she whispered a faint 'hi', and lastly offered a limp dead fish for a hand shake. On the other hand, my nephew was with me at a client's and he was introduced to one of the workman. He stood up, wiped his hand, shook hands well (I checked later - busybody!) and greeted him polietly. Also when we left, he acknowledged the meeting. I was so proud of him and told him so!
So Folks - lets all take a moment in this much to busy world to remember some of the charms of life when we used manners. It's the little things that make all the difference. If you need a refresher - check out Emily's 17th edition, I picked up my newer edition at a used book sale for $2. Looking for a used book sale - find one here in your neighborhood.
Remember that manners do matter!