Manners are about respect and thus are rooted in the Christian ethic modeled by Christ – my life for your life. Self-sacrifice, therefore, is at the heart of manners… Manners do not make the man or woman. The radical reorientation that says “my life for your life” can only come from the regenerating work of Christ, who instills His life and ethic in us. Nevertheless, manners teach the need for and complement of the character that Christ’s life gives. Lives that say “my life for yours” are channels of God’s grace to a needy world (Kent and Barbara Hughes).
Here’s our own list that emerged in our childrearing years: 1. Don’t be a tattletale. 2. If you receive a gift you don’t like, do your best not to show disappointment. And say something nice like “Thank you for remembering my birthday.” 3. Don’t gossip. If you do, you won’t be a trustworthy friend, and you will displease God (Prov. 11:11-12; 18:13). 4. Don’t whisper secrets in front of other people. The person left out will get hurt feelings. 5. Cheerfully greet the members of your family in the morning. 6. Always answer when you’re spoken to- and do so respectfully. 7. When you haven’t heard someone clearly, don’t grimace in irritation, but kindly say, “Excuse me?” 8. Always address adults as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, never by their first names. If they are particularly close family friends, your parents may want you to call them “Aunt” or “Uncle.” This shows respect. In the Southern states children use the friendly but respectful “Miss Suzy” or “Miss Martha” when speaking to adult acquaintances. The important thing here is developing a respect for authority, a quality sadly lacking in our country today (Kent and Barbara Hughes).
Children are rude because they are so naturally egocentric. It’s their needs, their comforts, their feelings that they demand be met- usually at the expense of weary parents. Of course, self-centeredness is natural, expected behavior in infancy and tolerable in toddlers, but it becomes downright unbearable in school-age children. Proper manners can be a most effective tool in teaching children that they are not the center of the universe. And as the realization grows, they will be well on their way to becoming civilized rather than savage (Kent and Barbara Hughes).