I know that manners are learned behaviors. We are not born knowing proper etiquette. Children imitate what they see and hear. I was raised in a household where rudeness was unacceptable and manners were just a way of life. That is how my husband, Dave and I have raised our own boys. Tonight, Dave and I decided to take advantage of a quiet night alone, by going out to an early dinner. We were not looking for a romantic, quiet dinner out, and wound up at family friendly restaurant nearby. We were seated right away and enjoying our dinner when a mom and her four children walked in, (or should I say, stormed in), and were seated at a table near us. I try not to pass judgement when I see noisy, boisterous children because I don’t know what circumstances these families might be facing but rudeness is another story. The way these children spoke to the waiter, had us both shaking our head in amazement. No “please”, no “thank you”. Just abrupt calling out, “I want” and “get me”. The little girl burped so loudly, that the entire restaurant turned around. Instead of the mother appearing embarrassed or telling her daughter to say excuse me, she joined in with the rest of the kids laughing.
Now, my children are far from perfect and you will never hear me saying that they are, but they know how to speak to others with respect and they know that no other behavior will be tolerated no matter where we are or who they are talking to. Instead of letting it go, I let it get to me. Each time one of those children yelled out, or screamed or spoke rudely to their mother or a waiter I just got more upset…and then the mom spoke.
The waiter went to their table. She rudely snapped at him, “Do you think we could have some time with the menus since we just sat down?”. To which the waiter, (politely I must say) responded, “yes, of course. I was just here to take your drink order”. There was no apology from the woman for her rudeness to this waiter. Dave said, “well we know where they get it from now”. To which I answered, “well at least now I know what to write about for my blog”.
If manners and respect are modeled at home, then children will model them outside of the home. I guess my mom was right, “Please and thank you”…they really are the magic words.