Some Manners I Don’t Miss by
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Please, thank you, and you’re welcome are fine
Acknowledging receiving a gift is important
But here are a few manners I didn’t pass on to my kids …

Here are a few manners I didn’t pass on to my kids …

Eat whatever was prepared for you and clean your plate
Address every adult Mr. or Miss or Mrs.
Never question anyone in authority
Call all of your relatives whenever you are in their town
Write a formal thank you note for any gift
Children should be seen but not heard
Dress nicely to go shopping
Guys should open the car door and pay when on dates
Women should always defer to men










RetroFlash —100 words

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Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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  1. I am curious: Did you pass on other particular behaviors to your kids, in specific contrast to these classic rules? Or was your parenting done without reference to them?

    • Laurie Levy says:

      We did the please, thank you, you’re welcome thing. Also many of the dining behaviors described by others, such as asking to be excused. Although we ate together and I made one meal for all, cooking things I thought everyone would like, they were free to make themselves a PB&J sandwich if they didn’t like what I made. I guess we tried to teach them to be polite, but more importantly, we taught them to be kind and caring.

  2. How about dressing up for airplane rides? I admit, I still tend to do that–at least in comparison to the later generations.
    You mean I shouldn’t have to feel guilty still about those times, decades ago, when I failed to call certain relatives when I was nearby? (Did that stem from the fact that “long distance” calls were prohibitive?)
    Clearly, your essay got me thinking about a number of my own practices, and that means it was very well done.

  3. Marian says:

    I agree with what you didn’t teach your kids, Laurie. Alas, I was taught most of that list. One of the hardest to break was the Mr./Miss/Mrs. addressing. Even into my 30s, when I first met clients, I would address them as Mr., Ms., or Dr. and was promptly corrected. Not cool for the egalitarian Silicon Valley. I am glad, in this brief way, you pointed out the good and the damaging aspects of manners.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Marian, I was thinking about addressing all of my parents’ friends in this manner. After I was married, I wrote the thank you notes “Dear Mr. and Mrs.” but my mother said now that I was married, I should have used their first names. I think in some cases, even though I had known these people all of my life, I wasn’t sure what their first names were.

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Terrific points, Laurie. And, as I went down the list, I kept waiting for one to disagree with, if just to make things interesting. But not a one. Not even a quibble. Though I might add that, while children should be heard, you don’t have to agree with them.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Good point, John. We should hear them respectfully and they us. With mine, I find we usually agree, especially on the important things and (thankfully) politics. When we don’t, I try my best to be a better listener than I used to be.

  5. Me neither Laurie – the times, they are a-changing!

  6. Betsy Pfau says:

    I used to love Little Golden Books, Laurie, but they seem out of date, now. I agree with the manners you DON’T teach. I didn’t either. Times have changed and cultural progress has been made for the better.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      In many respects, times are much better. There is more acceptance of differences and less pressure to conform than in our era. That’s a good thing because fake manners and unkind attitude don’t help anyone.

  7. Good list! Oh, and what about always letting boys/men win at whatever game you’re playing?!? That’s not the same as deferring…it’s to protect those delicate egos.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I had forgotten about letting the man win. My mother was actually a better bridge player than my father, but he blamed her for not making a hand every time and she let him. It’s always hard with kids to know when it’s ok to stop letting them win. With my grandkids, I don’t think I have ever done that. Perhaps a bad lesson, but let their parents teach them the harsh realities of life.

  8. Suzy says:

    Lovely to see a Little Golden Book, we had many of them, although not that particular one. The two pages you show are interesting. I obviously don’t agree with the one about boys being deferential to girls, but the one about party manners still seems like good advice. And I agree with your list of manners that you didn’t pass on to your kids (although we might have encouraged ours to eat everything on their plate).

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I’m sure you didn’t tell your kids to clean their plates because people were starving (I think it was in China). My mother also made the same meals every week, even if one of us hated that food. I remember my little brother gagging on liver and onions. Getting a dog helped a lot with this problem.

  9. Khati Hendry says:

    Laurie, I loved the Golden Book of Manners pictures–hadn’t seen that before. It reminded also of the Boy’s Life “Goofus and Gallant” cartoons, trying to teach proper behavior. I agree with your recommendations to ditch some of those old ideas too!

  10. Dave Ventre says:

    A significant percentage of my relatives didn’t rate a post card, much less a call!

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