by Donna Nahlik, Chestnut Health Systems
You and your teenage daughter stop at a local convenience store for a drink after soccer practice...your daughter jumps out of the car to go inside and gets to the door just before an elderly gentleman. What will your daughter do? Will she hold the door for the person...OR...will she dart inside...letting the door close right in front of him?
How about this one...
Your son and his friends are coming out of a local store and see a woman trying to hold her toddler's hand and carry several bags at the same. The woman drops one of the bags and cans of vegetables start rolling all over the parking lot. What would your son do? Would he run over and help her pick up the cans so that she can keep her child safe...or would he laugh and walk away?
Do you think you know what your child would do in these circumstances? Are you sure? Does it matter to you?
I happen to believe that it matters...A LOT!
When our kids are little, we spend a lot of time trying to get them to say, "Please" and "Thank you". We teach them to say "Excuse me" when they burp...or worse. We do that, right? I think that most parents do anyway. Most parents are very concerned with their children's manners when they are little. We want them to be polite and well-mannered. Nobody wants it to be their son or daughter who turns out to be "THAT KID". You know what I mean, right? I am pretty sure we can all think back to when our children were little and think of at least one child who we all just thought was...well...a mess. They grabbed toys out of others' hands...they never said "Please" or "Thank you"...they pushed...they burped...they cut in line...and on and on. We were mortified if our child acted like that, right?
Well...maybe we should ask ourselves now if our son or daughter is "THAT TEEN"! Is our teen the one who is rude and impolite? Would he open the door for someone when both are entering a building at the same time? Would he help someone pick up a pile of papers dropped on the floor at school? Does he thank the cafeteria worker who serves him lunch everyday? For that matter, does he ever thank you for making his dinner every night?
Maybe we should even take it further and ask ourselves...are we "THAT ADULT"? Do we exhibit politeness and good manners in our daily lives? Do we thank our kids for loading the dishwasher? Would we hold the door open for the elderly gentleman or help the busy Mom pick up cans in the parking lot? Do we let people pull out ahead of us while driving?
If not...why? How is it fair to expect politeness and good manners from our kids when we are not modeling that behavior ourselves?
I think it is time for a "Politeness RULES" movement. Let's keep reminding our little ones...our teens...and ourselves...that good manners do matter. I know it is easier and faster to just dart into the store and let the elderly gentleman fend for himself, but that is just not the right thing to do. It is not going to hurt us to stop for a second...breathe...and remember just what is important in this crazy, busy, mixed-up world.
So...hold that door open...smile...and help each other out. You might just make someone's day!