NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A polite home is a peaceful home. Imagine children saying “please” and “thank you” instead of “huh” and “what” — a home where “Heeeeeey, phone!” is never heard.
A tad old-fashioned in this rush-rush modern world perhaps, but not to June Hines Moore, who makes a living teaching what used to taught by parents, schools and church. It’s known as etiquette or by its familiar biblical name — the Golden Rule: treating others as you would want to be treated.
“I learned [manners] in school as well as at home. It was practiced everywhere,” Moore said. “But our society doesn’t teach it and the children don’t have the first clue.”
Perhaps the world has become a more rude and inconsiderate place. Americans believe that manners are worse now than they were 25 years ago, Moore said. But that can be changed if people remind themselves to be considerate of others.
“A lot of parents didn’t have a chance to learn it themselves,” Moore said of etiquette. “Adults have to require that children … speak in a modest tone and not interrupt. As adults we have the responsibility to teach them.”
Moore’s latest book, “Manners Made Easy,” is a workbook on everyday manners for children, parents and teachers, reflecting her desire to teach these principles to adults so that they might train the next generation. The book is full of charming illustrations demonstrating manners like which fork you grab, uh, pick up for salad. Broadman & Holman Publishers, the trade book division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, published the book.
Moore also quotes biblical passages that apply to each rule, because consideration for others through manners is, at its heart, Christlike.
“Every rule of etiquette has a reason,” Moore said. “The reason I teach the rules is so people feel more confident about their own actions with other people.
“If everybody knows what’s required, your focus can be on the conversation and on the people you’re with.”
Moore’s biggest challenge is teaching children how to eat at the table and common everyday courtesies like not interrupting when others are speaking. She suggests that parents first value manners, then commit to demonstrating them to their children. Parents also can point out when someone is rude to them and how it feels.
They should praise children when they are well-mannered, instead of criticizing when they’re not, she said. And parents should give children the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned by taking them to a nice restaurant, for instance. The whole point of etiquette is not to feel superior, however, but to make everyone more comfortable.
“I think people are more aware of the need for manners,” Moore said. “And I think adults have to act respectful, too.
“Manners were God’s idea first…. We put rules in our head, and manners in our heart.”
The workbook can be ordered on www.lifewaystores.com.
Larson is a freelance writer living in Nashville. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MANNERS MADE EASY.