Thank you notes | Parenting

“Our two teen age grandsons and their successful parents live far away from us. The boys are in private school, heading for college, involved in sports, do community projects through their church. We appreciate that the whole family is busy and are proud of them.

The boys never acknowledge birthday and other gifts. We asked our son about it once and he said everyone is so busy. They are always going to be busy. I believe that is the nature of productive people but somehow they must learn how to manage demands on them with the voluntary thoughtfulness of society. We told the boys who have cell phones that all they have to do is pick up the phone and they said, ‘yeah sure,’ but have not called though the gifts continue. P.S. I just reread letters from my children to my mother who kept them until she died. My grandsons were deprived of this.”

I like your expression, “voluntary thoughtfulness of society.” I understand the busyness of successful people and striving students. I have been there. But we are all part of society that runs better when we find the time to be civil to each other. Alas we live in un-civil times.

Manners are not trivial; they help keep us from hurting each other. Yes,

our world is pretty casual these days but manners are still both needed and required. Those who fail to respond to a teacher, boss, or prospective client will not be successful even in today’s casual world.

Parents, and also grandparents, should pay attention to children’s manners. Children imitate us so family grownups should model good manners from day one and gently remind and reinforce when needed. Gently means you take the child aside, it is not good manners to embarrass a child in front of others.

After learning basic manners children also need to learn what I call “Advanced Manners” so they become able to…

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