When I was growing up, the most important thing my dad tried to instill in me is respect and good manners. He also emphasized a strong work ethic, the importance of helping others, recognizing your blessings and numerous other good habits. The thing I always remember growing up was him reminding us to always have good manners especially at someone else's house.
This is something that stuck with me as important now that I have kids.
We all know the kids that are rude little snots, and all I can ever think when I see a kid act that way is "What the hell are the parents doing?" I just can't comprehend a mother or father sitting idly by and allowing some of the behavior that I see.
Knowing that I judge parents hard based on the way their kids act in mixed company, I really don't want to deal with the sideways glances and judgemental glares that come with a hell-spawn child. I'm sure there is a mix of nature and nurture when it comes to the behavior of your kid. If we can tame wild animals to perform in the circus or be household pets, we can also tame a wild child that is hyper and rambunctious. There really is no excuse for allowing that sort of behavior.
Apparently Erin feels the same way I do because we have both made a strong effort to teach our girls to have good manners. We've taught them (or at least have attempted to teach them) that they'll be a lot more likely to get what they want if they say "Please" while asking for it. Even when they're asking for something that we have no intention to give them, the still say "Please."
For example, the other day Grace was playing with a fake flower. This particular fake flower is apparently a mixture of pure gold and crack for our girls because they fight over it all the time. There was no way Grace was giving it up to her sister once she had her hands on it. I asked Grace if she would give it to Ana, and she replied with a simple and firm "No." Ana in turn said "Sissy fower, pees?" Grace still wasn't giving it up, but I loved that Ana asked nicely and said "Please" because she knew that Erin and I always tell them to say "Please."
The "Thank you" thing is still hit and miss. Because we always say "You're welcome" to them, they usually just say "Elcome" when they get something they were asking for. I'm still going to count it.
I guess some of it is getting through, and I can just see myself telling them to "Use their manners" as the leave for a friend's house 10 years from now.