Manners maketh the man

I had an interesting experience at Brandon Learning Centre today. We teach presentation skills to children of all ages. One of our policies is that every child who walks through our doors should learn to return the greetings they receive from our staff. Every member of staff tries to acknowledge every child and make them feel valued and we hope that our students learn to return the compliment.

Today James (not his real name!) who is seven and has been coming to us for a few months walked through the door. "Hello!" I said. No response. "Hello" I said again. James headed for the bookshelf and ignored me. Rather than ignore the incident, I knelt down next to him and started talking to him about the book he had chosen. He joined in. After a few minutes I said; "James, we still haven't said hello to each other have we? Shall we start again?" "Hello" he said. We had a talk about how it makes people feel better when other people are friendly to them and James decided that next week he would try to find me first to say "hello".

This story may sound trivial but I think that it illustrates a greater problem. If we don't learn basic courtesy and communication skills when we are little, we risk growing into awkward adults. By helping our children to learn how to respond to others, we can prevent them experiencing problems later on in life. It takes a village to raise a child and we can all help.

Here's a link to the Australian Sun Herald's take on the subject of courtesy!.

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