• Last week, my family and I went to visit an old friend of mine in San Diego.  We had been in the navy together, and I had never met his wife and three children.  When we finally all met what stood out to me was the behavior of his children, two boys and a girl, ages 11, 9, and 5 respectively. They were incredibly proper, neatly dressed and responded respectfully with a “Yes Sir (or Yes Ma’am),” to every question. I’m sure they were on their best behavior because they had guests but it was still nice to see. It had been well over 10 years since I’d been in the Military environment and my children had never spent time with military families. Their respectfulness was, for us, a little “over the top” but was refreshing.  And it was such a contrast to the families with which we currently associate. Kids will be kids, but I can’t help but think that we (myself included) somehow lost some of that “old school” respect and chivalrous behavior. Some of the changes are good but have we gone too far? After basking in the company of very well mannered children my thoughts are, yes!  Which brings up two topics – Respect and manners outside the home, versus inside the home.

    Kids will be kids, but I can’t help but think that we (myself included) somehow lost some of that “old school” respect and chivalrous behavior.

    I, of course, began to think about my own children’s behavior.  How many times have you gone to a gathering with your spouse and/or children and heard absolute strangers praise them to no end? Not just in front of you (which would make sense) but even when talking about them to others. Sometimes I just have to wonder, “Are they talking about the same people who I know?” because evidently I get a whole different side.  I’ll hear, “Oh look at those cute little angels, they’re so well behaved.” All the while I’m thinking, “Then why don’t you just take them home with you?”  Joking (kind of)!  They’re sweet to everyone but are very different at home. Which makes me think the kids, and adults, put on a party face and then let too much of the manners and polite behavior drop off when at home.

    Of course, everyone has different sides to them and yes it’s okay to let your guard down when you get home. But that doesn’t mean that you lose respect for your loved ones. If anything, it should be the opposite – we should show our appreciation to those who are close to us. So, why do people generally hold it together in public then show a different “persona” at home? Because they can! Whether it’s because they take things for granted or think that it’s okay because no one outside can see it, it’s still wrong! I think we have lost some of that “old school” respect for authority and some of the restraint of generations past.  What is ironic is that we notice the poor manners in others but often forget to look at ourselves. We all know that kids mirror the environment they see at home. If basic respect for others isn’t demonstrated in the inner circle and privacy of your family, then you’re teaching your children to put on a show for others. If we can manage to improve our home respect and appreciation for one another, our children will learn to act in a similar way, and will hopefully one day grow up with kindness and manners toward strangers and loved ones alike.