You’ve seen them.
The child at the playground that nearly knocks over someone as they rush to get to the slide first.
The child who takes the drink you’ve just offered without a word of thanks, but complains because it’s not their favorite.
The child who talks back to their mother in a way so disrespectfully, you consider the ramifications of you saying something about it.
Where have all the manners gone?
Growing up in the South, manners were drilled into me just as deeply as my school work. It was expected, and brought to my attention if I didn’t use them. Children who didn’t have manners were not looked well upon, and parents who didn’t teach them were considered reckless. They are such a part of who I am that I’m no longer me without them. But the longer I explore faith, the more I wonder if manners were born from Biblical teachings.
Although manners aren’t specifically discussed in the Bible, the concepts they include are Biblical. As Christians, we are called to rise above what the world does, and treat people in a way that stands out. Teaching our children basic manners is also teaching them a lot about the way Jesus treated others.
Manners teach the habit of respect. Whether you are opening a door for someone else, offering your seat to another, or simply thanking someone who is serving you, manners teaches you the habit of being respectful to others.
“Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Titus 3:1-2
Manners teach us to serve others. Whether we are asking questions about another person, complimenting something we admire, or simply apologizing when we have hurt someone, manners teach us to keep the other persons needs in mind—ahead of our own.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Manners teach consideration for others. Everything from our smart phones to TV-shows-on-demand encourages an instant gratification mindset. Teaching our children to say please for the things they would like shows consideration for those who would provide it, and puts them in a position of thoughtfulness instead of a demanding mindset.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10
Manners teach thankfulness. In a society where entitlement rules, people who are thankful are rare. Teaching your children to say thank you shows appreciation and gratitude, and makes a habit of realizing that what they are receiving is not owed to them.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Choosing to teach your children manners—regardless of what others are teaching their children—is a great way to instill faith values as well. Start making basic manners a part of the expected behavior of your children, and it will become a habit that will serve them well in life. As they begin to explore their faith on their own, they will soon discover that the manners you taught them only compliment what Jesus is teaching them as well.
And stop by Moms Together today to join in the conversation about manners, our children, and how it reflects our faith. I’d love to see you there!
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