Excuse me. Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. I’m sorry. These simple words and expressions help maintain a level of respect for one’s self and others around them.
Three young boys were entering my daughter’s school building as I was leaving it last week. Seeing me open the one set of double doors, they came running over to enter. I held the door, and not one — I repeat, Not. One. — said thank you.
“You’re welcome!” I said loudly as they walked past me.
Not one turned around. They kept going.
Where does one learn manners? Hopefully, at home, where they should begin. Once learned, use them away from home — at school, work, the mall, etc. In fact, once a child starts school, such pleasantries should be a part of their daily lives.
According to one online published report, a school in Portugal emphasized to students and parents that certain responsibilities begin at home, and that school just reinforces what children learn at home.
How did they get this point across? Teachers hung posters around the school highlighting five key points for parents to teach their children. In summary:
- “Magic words” like please, thank you, hello, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.
- Honesty, punctuality, sympathy and respect for elders and teachers.
- Cleanliness, proper eating (chew with your mouth closed) and disposing of garbage.
- Organization, responsibility for belongings and keeping your hands to yourself.
“Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents,” the last sentence on the poster reads.
The poster’s contents, according to the report, have been shared myriad times online thanks to a Facebook post. Some suggest all schools should have a similar sign or deliver such a message to parents at home.
I’ve seen many schools with similar signage, including the ones that my children attend. All too often, stories surface where the parents just don’t seem to care about teaching the basics or feel that school becomes the catch-all place for child care and learning everything — not just the “Three R’s.” Really, that’s a shame.
Manners matter. At school. At home. Everywhere.