Last night, my 7-year-old daughter, Abigayle, and myself were reading a great new children's book, HOW TO GET A GORILLA OUT OF YOUR BATHTUB by John Hall, an author who just recently visited the kids at Leoti's grade school. Its a really cute children's book! Towards the end of the story, the author teaches the readers to follow common everyday manners such as saying "thank you" and "please". He has also written another children's book, MICKEY MCGUFFIN'S EAR. I am happy that we bought both of his books! They're very well written and have good messages for the kids!
Anyway, I am thankful that Mr. Hall took time to encourage children to use some manners. It made me do some thinking. Why is it that complete strangers, people whom our children will probably never meet, are feeling it necessary to do this? I can tell you! It's because many parents no longer find it important to teach their children, themselves. Shoot! There's alot of parents, grandparents, etc out there who never use manners and common courtesy themselves. We, like it or not, serve as models for not only our own children and grandchildren, but other kids along the way.
In the early 1980s, Stan and I ran a chain of convenience stores in Southwest Kansas. Even back then, we had to "remind" co-employees to "use their manners" when dealing with customers. I couldn't believe it back then! Now, it is even worse!
I've been paying attention to area store employees. Some speak to you when you walk into the store but others don't find that to be a necessity. Some thank their customers for coming in. Many don't. Some treat the customers like they are genuinely happy to "get to" wait on you, etc. Others seem like they would rather be anywhere else but standing behind the cash register or helping you to find items in the store. What has happened? Did management at the business forget to mention to the clerk/associate that the customers ultimately pay their paychecks??? Right now, I am thinking of one such associate. I have NO idea how many times I have heard customers go to him/her, ask where such and such are only to be told that if such and such is not on the shelf, there is none in the store. He/she does not strain himself/herself by walking to the backroom and taking a look to see if such and such just may possibly still be in the backroom.
Lately, I have found on a regular basis, than an item that we purchase on a regular basis is hardly ever on the shelf when I go into purchase it. The manager and assistant manager have told me that they stock extras of it in the backroom. So, now when I go in and find the empty shelf, I go to the backroom and help myself to it. I then take it to the check-out counter, hand it to him/her so that I can pay for it. The clerk NEVER bothers to ask me where I found it. He/she KNOWS that I got it out of the backroom! I'm thinking seriously of grabbing an empty grocery cart, filling it with the product, taking it to the shelf and restocking it myself in front of the clerk! Maybe, just maybe, he/she will feel guilty and choose to do a better job from then on.
Our daughters are popular girls so we have a pretty steady stream of their friends coming over. Some of their friends never seem to forget to say "please", "thank you", "you're welcome", etc. Unfortunately, a good portion of their friends never say these things. So...I have decided to take it upon myself to teach them good manners. No, I don't sit them down at the dining room table and get out any manner and courtesy books! I just remind them to say "thank you" whenever I give them something or do something for them. It usually works because from then on, they seem to remember.
My parents taught us our manners as soon as we learned to talk. I remember, even back then, how people commented often on our good manners. Why aren't more parents doing that today? I'll tell you what. Many parents could get alot of lessons on parenting if they were able to use my folks as models. They were the best! Fortunately, Mama is still here to model for her grandchildren!!!
Something else that ticks me off is this. My parents showed me that if an older person or handicapped person needed help with opening/shutting doors, we were to offer to help. If we were standing in line to be checked out and one such person also got into line, we should let that person get in front of us so that they were not forced to stand in line any longer than necessary. I've also taught my daughters that if an older person, handicapped person or pregnant lady comes into a public restroom, to let that person use the restroom first. I cannot believe how many kids and ADULTS shove people out of their way in such circumstances! What's happened to the so-call CIVILIZED people in our world???
Just another of my many observations...