Last night our sweet daughter’s Junior Cheer Squad cheered for the first time at their homecoming game.

As with most activities at a school, Moms were recruited to help herd the children (since many of the parents choose to let them run wild like a pack of wolves).  Did I just write that for all to see?  Well, unfortunately it is true.  I was up “mothering” (chasing down) many of those girls … telling them to move here, don’t do that, etc …   The coach asked us in an email to keep our children with us and not allow them to run around unsupervised.  Ahem … anyway …

Another one of my duties was to carry the roster around and mark off names as I handed out the hair bows they ordered.   That was interesting in itself, but one thing really stood out to me:  Some kids don’t have manners!   More than once I would ask these girls questions and they would respond, “Yeah.”  Excuse me?  I DON’T EVEN SAY “YEAH” TO SOMEONE OLDER.

juniorcheersquad2One particular conversation stood out to me last night:  I had a small group of girls surrounding me and my trusty box of bows.  I asked them a question and they all said the “Y” word.  I treated them just like I do my daughter’s friends and with a big friendly smile I said, “I know you all just said ‘yes Ma’am’ and not ‘yeah’ didn’t you?” (Always giving them a chance to redeem themselves.)  When the little girls at our house hear that they immediately say, “Yes Ma’am” with a smile and understanding that “yes Ma’am” is what I expected.  But those girls just looked at me like I had spoken to them in a foreign tongue.   Seriously, you could have heard crickets chirping in the background as they stood there — dumbfounded by what had just occurred.

Due to a conversation I had with a friend recently, I made the assumption that enforcing “Yes Ma’am” was a southern thing.  However, my friend Nan was raised in Washington State and always made her kids use those manners.  So who knows.

I asked my Facebook friends what they taught their kids and here were just a few of the responses:

Jill:  Our children are ONLY allowed to answer us and other adults with yes ma’am or sir unless they know your full name like Mrs. Smith. UGH parents come ON! Step it up!

Paul:  I say ma’am and sir to my children and expect that they do the same to others.

Jan:  We work on this with B_____ but she has only 2 parents & lots of friends–whose parents unfortunately don’t require this of their own kids.

Even now as a grown woman, I speak to the older generations with respect.  Sometimes I think I insult people who probably aren’t that much older than myself by saying “yes Ma’am” – but that was just the way I was raised.  My mother-in-law has always said my parents did a great job teaching me manners (thank you Mama and Daddy).

Parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children manners.

Are they taught by our own example to say PLEASE and THANK YOU?  What about EXCUSE ME as they cut in front of someone?   Last night as we were leaving the ballgame (my 82-year-old mother-in-law was with us) I said “excuse me” to a group of boys hanging on the field goal post (WHERE WERE THEIR PARENTS?!?!?!).  I finally took a boy by the arm to get his attention and said, “See this older lady coming through?  Be careful and do not knock her down.”  I had to spell it out for him because he was too busy ignoring and not respecting adults.   I saw another young man bump into her as we were pushing through the crowd (he was a teenager).  He didn’t say “Excuse me” OR apologize for running into her.

I agree with Jill’s statement, “UGH parents come ON!  Step it up!”

Even though other parents don’t expect it from their children, I still expect our daughter to use manners in their homes.  I have a feeling she doesn’t just because she would be the lone ranger, but I constantly remind her that I EXPECT her to use those same manners at school and elsewhere.   I wish she got the same re-enforcement everywhere she went.

Are manners a lost art in today’s society?   <—-  Tweet this

What are your thoughts on this subject?