Recently in Colonial Williamsburg, I was reminded that life for our children is very different from the life led by children in the Revolutionary War period in the United States. I found a great little book with George Washington’s instructions on manners – actually some of the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation he had copied as part of his schoolwork (The rules were already 150 years old at that point.). It’s interesting to read, but something becomes clear very quickly. Children were expected to behave like little ladies and gentleman.
Fast forward to today. Manners are taught – sometimes – sorta. One could make a lot of arguments for and against raising well mannered children, but here is my theory. Christian parents should spend a lot of time and effort on manners training because of this verse (and others like it) – “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
Good manners are a great way for your children to let their light shine and point others to God. If your children have great manners, they will be a light in a world that is filled with people acting in inconsiderate and rude ways. People will wonder why your kids are different. Your children can share God wants us to love others as we love ourselves. Surely, we want others to treat us with the respect, curtesy and kindness reflected in excellent manners. Good manners are a simple, but clear way of reflecting God’s love to others.
If you are a little fuzzy on etiquette yourself, there are plenty of books at your local library to help. Emily Post, Miss Manners and others can give you plenty of manners to teach your children. If you are interested, the book I mentioned is George Washington’s Rules To Live By by K.M Kostyal. It’s not a Christian book, but combines a bit of manners training and history in a fun children’s format. You can also search Parenting Like Hannah posts under “manners” for lots of fun ideas to help your kids practice their new found etiquette knowledge.
Taking the time to teach and reinforce good manners in your children is a great way to serve others and share your faith. It will also make our world a little kinder and more civil. Who knows, it may even become a positive trend.
An affiliate link is included for your convenience.