So, what do Manners and The Golden Rule have to do with raising kids past and present? There really is a very important connection. If we want to see children today grow into upstanding adults who do well in life, we really need to be diligent in teaching them manners and also The Golden Rule -- wouldn’t you agree?
Let’s first look at what is known as the Golden Rule. In Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone was aware of and practiced this in everything? Well, it is not something that comes automatically to people, especially children!
So you might be wondering, how do we put this into practice? Glad you asked. Here’s how we can start. Begin by teaching your children good manners-- yes, I said GOOD MANNERS. Why good manners? Because good manners are really the essence of the Golden Rule, which is treating others like we would like to be treated. Unfortunately, too many parents don’t see the connection or perhaps weren’t taught the value of manners when they were growing up. Today, there is a lot of pressure to be the “cool” guy or girl, and for some people, good manners don’t always seem to fit into that category, but the truth is, good manners always fit into any category!
One of the outcomes of teaching children manners will be another very important life lesson for them, which is being taught how to be polite to older people. Now that in itself is worth the time spent reading this blog, because learning to respect older people will help them to develop a proper respect for their Heavenly Father and His commandments.
I am thankful that my mother didn’t just teach us, but she also trained her four boys to be polite and use good manners with people. Now to be absolutely honest, we weren’t always candidates for an Emily Post Award, (Emily Post - The Emily Post Institute, Inc.) but we always knew what was right.
I can recall as a boy zipping around the edge of the living room and scrambling past my parents and their company and up the stairs to my bedroom and hearing, “Gary! You come back here!” I want you to meet Mrs. So and So.” Or “Gary! Stand up when a lady comes into the room and say hello.” If it was a man, I was to take my eyes off the TV and expected to stand up and shake hands when introduced. It was always expected of me to acknowledge adults by speaking to them first but never by interrupting without saying “Excuse me please”. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was being trained how to respect others, particularly women, and in today’s world that is an important lesson for our sons to learn!
This was a very valuable life lesson for me, because growing up during the Great Teen Rebellion years, I didn’t have the fear, disrespect or rebellion that many of my peers had towards adults. In fact, I was very comfortable talking with adults and found their life stories very interesting. Looking back, I now know that it was the respect I learned to have for adults, particularly the men in my neighborhood, and the respect they showed me that put a wholesome fear in my life that helped me not to get in more trouble than I did. Those were just a few of the things I was taught -- trained would be a more accurate word.
Today, however, I rarely see or experience young people acknowledging adults or interacting with them, even when passing one another face-to-face, unless they want something. Parents, this reflects upon you, please teach your children to not be rude! Now in all fairness, there are some real exceptions which by the way really shine out, (kudos to their parents) but as a whole, I would encourage parents to take a fresh look at the importance of teaching their children manners for a number of reasons:
One- To teach them that if they value and show respect to others, people will value and respect to them in return.
Two- Polite and mannerly people will be given more favor in life.
Three- They will not be intimidated by adults and will feel comfortable in learning from their life lessons.
Four- They will learn to show respect to adults and to their Heavenly Father.
Five- Simply stated--people will like them!
There is another very important side to this! When children feel more comfortable interacting with adults, they will also gain the confidence to put up important boundaries that will include not allowing other kids or adults to touch them or lead them away from a safe place. They will not feel quite so intimidated and so trusting that they would be afraid to say, “No”!
So parents, are you teaching your sons how to respect women and are you teaching your daughters how they should be treated by a man? By so doing you will find that your time spent will be extremely beneficial with absolutely no negatives. So make the effort and take them to the next level! You will find it an important factor for a successful future- and their personal safety!
Thank you for reading!
So, “Train your child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. “ Proverbs 22:6
Pastor Gary A. Smith
New Life Christian Fellowship