Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Mind Your Manners
So we always taught our kids to be kind, patient, considerate of others. But not everyone does that.
And this great NYTimes piece by pediatrician, Perri Klass, M.D. sorts it out in a great way.
As a doctor, Klass views social skills right up there with the three R's. Reading, (w)riting, rethmetic.
Rude is not good.
Parents, your job is to help prepare a being for their future. In social skills along with everything else. Or they can't function in society.
The good doctor says:
"One of the long-term consequences of being a rude child is being a rude adult — even a rude doctor. There are bullies on the playground and bullies in the workplace; it can be quite disconcerting to encounter a mature adult with 20 or so years of education under his belt who still sees the world only in terms of his own wants, needs and emotions: I want that so give it to me; I am angry so I need to hit; I am wounded so I must howl."
It really seems to be a disservice to allow bad behavior.
Who to guide us?
As a model, the Miss Manners serves.
"I like Miss Manners’ approach because it lets a parent respect a child’s intellectual and emotional privacy: I’m not telling you to like your teacher; I’m telling you to treat her with courtesy. I’m not telling you that you can’t hate Tommy; I’m telling you that you can’t hit Tommy. Your feelings are your own private business; your behavior is public."
Not always easy. The little people have a way with getting their way. But that's how we, as a community work. With each other. Manners.
"But that first big counterintuitive lesson — that there are other people out there whose feelings must be considered — affects a child’s most basic moral development. For a child, as for an adult, manners represent a strategy for getting along in life, but also a successful intellectual engagement with the business of being human."
Good business that human stuff.