A young girl, maybe 9 or 10, came in to my shop one morning this week to buy her lunch for school.
She held her (mother’s) money tightly in her hand, a bright smile lighting up a dull, drizzly morning.
I greeted her and asked her what she would like.
“May I please have…”
Not “Give me…” or “I want…”
She didn’t hear something I asked her.
“I beg your pardon?”
Not “What?” or “Huh?”
There were a few more pleases and thankyous before we reached the end of the line. Would she like a drink?
No “Nuh” or “Nah”
As she walked out the door, I seriously had goosebumps.
A primary school child in 2012 using perfect manners - with no prompting from a hovering parent. Amazing.
Amazing? No, pretty sad really.
Sad that the bare minimum of good manners is the exception. Sad that a child saying please and thankyou made my day. Take nothing away from this little star, she should show the other 90% of kids that come in how its done.
Are we forgetting manners? Are they even important or relevant anymore? Heck yes. As parents we try to upload good manners to our children; “What’s the magic word?” “What do you say to Grandma?”. Teachers encourage and reward politeness and good manners from the second those little preppies hit the mat.
But we have to be vigilant. Minding the old P’s and Q’s is just the tip of the iceberg. Your child will (hopefully) want a job one day. It is here, in the job interview that good manners will give your big kid the big edge.
A recent survey by a U.S. job placement agency found that “Job candidates' interview manners are in desperate need of a performance review.”
Among other disturbing results of the survey, an astonishing 43% used profanity during an interview. 19% brought a child in to an interview, 13% applied makeup and 12% actually left before the end of an interview. A shocking 87% dressed inappropriately for the interview (This probably would not surprise anyone who has ever conducted job interviews). All this, in a country with 8% unemployment.
As parents, its up to us to not only build the platform of good manners but constantly re-enforce it. We all want the best for our kids, and these basics of life will give them a greater chance. I’m not talking about table manners or formal etiquette, I’m not suggesting we all send our kids off to deportment school, just to live and breathe the essential 5:
- “Thank you”
- “May I?”
- “Excuse Me”
- “I’m Sorry”
It costs nothing and takes no time. The rewards however, are priceless. They may hate or resent us for it now, but thank us, quite politely when it pays off.
Oh, and just for interest's sake, 5% of job applicants actually took a long bathroom break during the interview. I guess when you gotta go…
Peace and Love,