In part one, “Babies: God’s Second Chances,” I looked at how adorable babies are—regardless of how expensive it is to raise them. But then, they grow up. The decorum of today’s generation heavily depends on parents’ efforts during the early years. Case in point, when I was a child I use to sing this social graces song…
Say please when you ask for something
Say thank you when it’s given to you
Say Excuse me when you’re burping or sneezing
Say I’m sorry for the wrong things you do
Manners primarily deal with how we treat ourselves and others, which ultimately builds confidence and poise. When children learn good behavior, they tend to carry it into adulthood. The fact that I can still recite the above song after so many years is proof. Manners mature into morals.
The negative attitude of the younger generation towards social graces today, is an indicator of their morals tomorrow. Not to package every teen in the same wrapping paper, but the majority of today’s adolescence shows little to no etiquette in their deportment. Loud cell phone conversations and profanity in public places are the norm. Girls leave nothing to the imagination, and boys are bearing assets as well with pants halfway down their legs.
Parents and teachers use to stress teaching children how to dress, walk, talk, eat, sit, converse, and respect adults. Table manners such as no talking with a full mouth, no burping or slurping, was always encouraged. Young ladies were taught what to expect from young men. And the males were taught how to treat the ladies; from opening doors to pulling out chairs.
What Went Wrong?
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” is an old proverb which still rings true. The home is the first school any child will attend, and parents are in charge of the curriculum. It seems parents have become far too distracted, stressed-out, and overworked to pay attention to teaching their children good manners and social conduct. On the other hand, the behavior of some parents lacks social graces. Fred Astaire said, “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”
God wants us to teach the next generation good morals and values so they can become a better nation. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) Parents have to make social graces a part of children’s everyday life. They can enroll them in classes which offers etiquette training if they don’t have the time. Churches can also help by hosting seminars and workshops aimed at improving social graces.