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I never taught manners to my kids
I never told my kids, say please, thank-you, excuse me, never once did I ask them, "what do you say?" I tried very hard to never embarrass them in front of their peers or anyone. They were not told how to hold a fork or a knife, the proper way to cut their food, to keep their mouth closed while eating.
They were not taught to respect their elders, to care about the handicapped or disabled, to love animals and our planet.
Our friends, teachers, pastor and others that knew our kids always commented on how polite they were, how they sounded like an adult when answering the phone, how loving and caring they were towards seniors, handicapped and the animals in our house. They wrote thank-you notes for gifts and visits, they open doors for others, they do chores when not asked to.
Our kids watched us. Everything we did went under a microscope and was copied. They learned how to act by our example, not by a list of rules or MissManners books.
When you build trust, honesty and openness with your kids you have opened the world to them. Our kids came to us with anything and everything because we showed them that it was okay, we were always there for them, that they are important and valuable, as they are, and that we loved them, for who they are, not what they could do.
Our kids are grown now. My almost 30 year old son still opens doors for me, walks on the outside of the sidewalk, helps me in everything I do. My daughter, who is married with her own children, takes time from her very busy world, to chat with me. To share her feelings, laughter, tears, to ask for my input.
No, I never taught them in words and rules, but they learned in how I reacted and dealt with the world and all that live in it.
"Show the world by action your light and they will be drawn to it, wanting to know what IT is that gives you the joy and peace, and they will want what you have."
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