Adult: Have You Forgotten? – Part 1-

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot” – Clarence Thomas –

There are simple good manners adults have forgotten. Let’s go down memory lane that relates to some rules of etiquette. While growing up, whenever we came across a familiar adult, my mother would turn to us kids and ask, “What do you say?” we would then leave whatever was distracting us and greet the adult, “Good afternoon ma” or ”Good evening sir” as the case maybe. Mum constantly reminded us that we must greet our elders when we meet them.

This simply testifies to the fact that there are good manners which need to be passed from the older generation to younger generations either through parents, guardians, elders, and/or older siblings. We know that the style, “Do what I say and not what I do” does not work. As adults we too may recall that the things we have held on most from our parents are not necessarily those things they kept saying. We notice that we find ourselves doing some of what we saw our parents do. In other words, kids learn most by example; so too when it comes to passing on good manners to them.

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An adult can teach good manners most effectively by way of example. You cannot give what you do not have. One may pretend for a while, but if such good manners are not a part of that adult, soon the younger one will see through the pretense and the good lesson may not be passed on effectively. Fred Astaire puts it so well that “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

Thinking about this, I would say, within a normal, stable family setting, a female child learns what it is to be a wife and a mother just by watching how her mother relates with her father and the entire household. This also applies to a growing son; he learns what it means to be a husband and a father by observing his dad.

However, there are manners, especially public manners, which many adults have forgotten or have become negligent of. These manners and behaviors are exhibited in public places such as on the street, in private and public vehicles, while walking by the road side, in a gathering of people, during social events and functions, in places of worship, work, offices, schools, and in market places.

Interestingly, when it comes to the display of ill-manners, there is sometimes no difference between the educated and uneducated, civil leader and follower, lecturer/professor and student, rich and poor, teacher and pupil, tout and passenger, and so on. Highly undisciplined manners can be found with these categories of persons. So, who will make the difference? Will you?

(To be continued)
Linda Ellah

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