Wednesday, July 18, 2012

{Brett's Write Mind} - A Matter of Manners

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 thankyou”
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:
-       “Please”
-       “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,


  1. I can't believe that people took bathroom breaks or didn't bother to apply makeup for an interview! I have to say, the number of the people I have met who are in senior positions in companies and can barely string together a coherent sentence together in person or in writing never ceases to amaze me.

    Lack of manners is something that kills me when I see it in others and I find it even more annoying when I realise that sometimes I suffer similar lapses - e.g. saying excuse me.

  2. Manners are a massive thing at the Circus...
    I can't count the number of times people have been genuinely surprised by the (good) manners always used by the Clowns... But it's a given in our house, so it's not seen as something to be over the top about - if you aren't using your manners you won't be heard at the Circus!! You learn pretty quickly around here that a few nice words get you farther! ;-)
    Manners are free and take no time at all to be used!

  3. I don't "do" make up unless I am having an incredibly hidious day, mostly it just makes me look like a clown as I just SUCK at applying it.

    but I DO teach my son good manners, he is 2 and says please and thank you and knows exactly where he has slipped up when I say what do you say? (please mum / nan etc) and Pardon? when he does not say thank you, mostly he requires little to no prompting though


I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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