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.
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?