As an etiquette teacher, I cannot help but notice others’ manners. It’s a curse. Not that I’d comment negatively about etiquette breaches. Nevertheless, I do notice. The upside of this curse is that I also notice when people behave politely. Sometimes they actually surprise me with their good manners, like when the young teen boy that ran over to open a door for an elderly lady or when the 10-year-old knew to say “excuse me” when he stepped in front of others.
Since many young people appear to lack these subtle manners, I become giddy and gushing with accolades when I witness these behaviors. So, imagine my glee when I witnessed, not one, but multiple acts of great manners by children. In these cases, the children weren’t just using excellent manners; they were with parents who didn’t. They, in fact, were teaching their parents by example. I’m in gushing mode, so please follow along for some examples of great manners.
Passing on the left and other great bike etiquette rules
Ours is a university town bustling with bike riding students, so bicycle etiquette rules are quite well publicized. Because of this, it’s especially discouraging when adults commit common etiquette breaches since I feel that they should know better. Even so, as I was walking along our local greenbelt, several adult bicyclists frightening me as they passed without warning. Just as I was mentally mourning the death of manners, a young girl at the end of the pack shouted out, “Passing on your left!” I couldn’t help but yell, “Thank you!” and “You’re a very well-mannered young lady!” Dad, who was riding up front, repeated my acclamation. Perhaps he will remember his manners next time.
A little one tries to teach his dad to say thank you
During a recent visit to a grocery store, a man and young boy — around four-years-old — were in the checkout line directly in front of me. Since this store treats little ones with balloons, I was prepared for a squeal of delight when he received his–something that always puts a smile on my face. As the associate gave the little one his prize, his father ignored the generous gesture, instead checking his cell for messages. I did receive my squeal of joy, though, with the added pleasure of hearing the little one’s response of “Thank you!” He then tugged on Dad’s pant leg and pointed to the balloon. Dad, unfortunately, just nodded.
Look mom, they were here first.
In a neighborhood coffee shop, the woman in front of me was next in line to order her coffee when Mom and her very young daughter swoop in. As young as she was — probably about five — she tugged on her mom’s shirt sleeve and pointed to the line. Mom just ordered her caffeine drink of choice, glanced at the line and left. The daughter, however, thanked all of us. Yet again, I felt compelled to acknowledge her excellent manners loudly. Others in line joined me. Mom, smiled at her daughter as they left, so perhaps her manners will improve in the future.
These are just a few stories of great manners exhibited by children. What are your stories?
More by Rebecca
How to Teach Manners; Our Young Teens Speak Up
What Do Middle Schoolers Consider Good Manners and Are They Important?
The Importance of Good Manners in the Workplace for Job Seekers and University Students