Tag Archives: electronics

Teaching Our Kids About Manners

I was a kid in the 1970s and my parents came to Arizona from farming communities in the midwest.  They raised me with many of the customs from their childhood…which makes perfect sense.

My parents taught me to open doors for everyone (especially ladies), to make eye contact when speaking to adults, and to always say “please” and “thank you.”  They did not have to deal with electronics at mealtime as so many of us battle against today.

young woman bored to date while her boyfriend having business cell on mobile phone

young woman bored to date while her boyfriend having business cell on mobile phone

As time has passed, I have had the sense “manners” have changed slightly.  Holding doors for people can be met with either thanks or indifference.  Rarely do I remember to stand when a lady gets up from the table.  I do, however, open the car door for my wife nearly every time we get into the car.

My son and stepsons pay close attention to my actions and I do my best to model good manners.  But I have wondered if any of what my parents taught me has changed.

Thankfully, I heard a podcast by the Art of Manliness about the subject, and I encourage each of you to give it a listen.  We have all heard of Emily Post, but I had no idea her family had kept her legacy alive and relevant.  You can find one of her old books in the used bookstore, but the modern Emily Post empire is alive, well, and keeping abreast of modern manners.

The podcast reminded me to keep up on my manners and gave me some tools to use with respect to email manners even text messaging.

We model behavior for our kids and it does not hurt to brush up on good manners so we can equip them to stand above the rest as they grow up.

Can you name one time your parent(s) asked you to leave the dinner table for bad manners?  Have you sent your kid to her/his room for bad behavior at the table?

Wait Before Destroying The iPad

Silence hangs over the house like a heavy blanket on an otherwise beautiful afternoon.

You have several kids at home…there should be noise, so your imagination takes over.

They must be outside trying cigarettes or drinking a beer in secret.  No way should they be this quiet.

But on your way to the back yard, you walk by the family room.  Each kid sits quietly on the sofa, almost shoulder to shoulder, ears plugged with earbuds, shoulders slouched, neck bent, eyes fixed on 3.1 million glorious pixels.  Not a creature stirred.

Moments like those make me want to yank out the earbuds and snatch every device.  Then, in front of the kids, use a ball pein hammer to delicately shatter each iPad screen, and show them the door to the back yard where they should be playing.

Photo Credit: Finnberg68 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Finnberg68 via Compfight cc

But, since I have my own dysfunctional relationship with electronics, I tone down my response and give the kids five more minutes to wrap up before they get sent outside or must start a new, non-electronic activity.

So…what is it with our love-hate relationship with electronics and “screen time”?

As someone in my mid-40s, access to electronics growing up was limited.  I might just harbor jealousy when I see what amazing resources my son has access to.

Photo Credit: zigazou76 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: zigazou76 via Compfight cc

I had to go to the library and look up articles on microfiche.  Part of me wants my son to share in my suffering.

Having just finished open house for my son’s fifth-grade class, half of the academic helps for our kids come in the form of iPad apps.  So, now he can legitimately say screen time equals study time.

So, should I just give up?


It is time to embrace these amazing tools.  It is also time to recognize my son’s job will likely have a close tie to his ability to utilize screen time.

But I will help him find a balance.  He will hike with me.  He will set up a lemonade stand.  He will play an instrument.  He will play rugby.  He will help with DIY projects around the house.

And I might let him find the YouTube video to help out with the DIY project.

What role do electronics play in your home?  What is your biggest struggle?