manners

24 Mar

As a parents, Jason and I are always trying to encourage politeness and kind hearts from of our children.  While the kids still find it insanely inappropriate when someone belches or “toots” at the dinner table, we try to instill the importance of manners.  Often times when an eruption occurs and the giggles follow, I’ll give the kids the side eye and murmur, “Just don’t.”  As in, just don’t loose your mind over how hilarious it is that James can fart louder than a grown man.  Or, just don’t try to one up Annie’s belch.  Just don’t go there.  And while I admit that sometime I have to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from giggling (I’m mature like that), we do try hard.

Why?

Because manners are important.  They demonstrate kindness and respect to those around you.  They encourage us to consider other peoples needs before our own.  They show that we value the person—that they are not a means to an end, but a person that was created in the image and likeness of God.  Just like me.  And, they deserve to be treated as such.

In my years of working with children, they get it.  They understand the concept and while they need gentle reminder of “just don’t,” deep in their hearts, they  understand the Golden Rule.

Adults, on the other hand, well, I often think they need just as many reminders as children.  Lately I’ve been painfully struck by the complete not coolness of adults.  I’ve found myself giving them the side eye and thinking, “just don’t” and wishing that they could spend a day in our house so that my kids could school them in the ways of politeness.

I even have a list of manners I’d like to reteach the adults in this world: 

1.  Look people in the eye when you talk to them.  It shows you are listening and you care about what they are saying.

2.  Say please when you would like something done.  Commands are rude.  We are not dogs—thus, don’t bark orders.

3.  For Heaven’s sakes—say Thank You!  When someone does something for you—no matter what it is—even if you hate it—say thank you!  Nothing pains me more than when I have gone out of my way to help someone and they respond with criticism, instead of a thank you, first.  When you have the choice between criticizing and choosing gratitude—always choose gratitude! 

4.  Do not under any circumstance be a one-upper!  I mean c’mon, nothing is worse than pouring your heart out to someone about something that is so personal, only to be met with a response of, “Girl, that’s nothing…let me tell you about what happened to me.”  You know why that is just non-sense?  Because no one has walked in my shoes—the same shoes that have taken me on a personal, and a times very painful path.  But, by His grace, I am sustained.  He provides me the strength to endure my crosses, not yours.   If we look to Christ as our model, we quickly come to understand that He would never say, “Sorry, honey, your cross is nothing.  Look at me.  I died on one….for you!”  Instead, he says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  He asks us to go to Him.  To lay our burdens at the foot of the cross, so that He can comfort us and provide us with true healing.  Imagine how different a response we would have if we extended this same kind of compassion to one another. 

5.  In the atrium, we teach the children the Maxim, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”  As my second graders so eloquently stated, “It all goes back to love!”   Yes, love!  “Love one another as I have loved you.”  With all of our hearts, minds, and souls, we were created to love.  Don’t let the evil dude shift your focus away from that truth.  If we are loving like Christ, completely, wholly, unselfishly, there would no room for anything in us that was unloving. 

So, my dear adults, take these gentle reminders to heart, knowing that you were created for love…and kind manners.

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