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Lady Lydia Speaks

Manners: Showing Respect and Honor at Home
By Mrs. Stanley Sherman
Nov 22, 2006 - 9:40:34 PM

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In spite of all the socialization that young people have nowadays, they can still lack good manners and good social skills. Good manners go deeper than the superficial use of the right fork. They are a deeply ingrained set of values that cause us to show respect and honor parents, even in the worst circumstances. The best time to acquire good manners is during your upbringing.

The Blodgett Family by Eastman Johnson, from

The practice of good manners makes life pleasant at home and prepares young people to get along as adults in their future homes. Most conflicts in churches or places of employment are a result of bad manners in the home with parents and siblings. If a person fails to show respect, honor, and deference to family members while he is growing up, he will inevitably create problems at work, in the church, or in a future family. Even carefully taught Christian, homeschooled children are still susceptible to the influence of bad manners.

Miss Manners by Catherine Andrews Fincher, from

Good manners find favor in the most trying circumstances. Good manners will be so ingrained in children by the time they become adults that they will not even be conscious of them. In the most tense circumstances, their manners will not fail them. Once they are trained to be ladies or gentlemen, it will be practically impossible to abandon good manners.

Think of the wounded people trying to descend the hundreds of flights of stairs after the attack on the Trade Towers in New York. The people caught in the elevators and the people aboard the airplanes during this terrible time showed their true character. Nobility is an outgrowth of good manners, carefully taught in youth. In tragedies like this, those who behave with nobility are heroes. Rude, crude people are people who disregard the feelings and well-being of others in order to live out their own feelings. Bad manners create danger to others.

One young woman was so injured during the attack in New York that she lost her will to descend the hundreds of steps to safety. At the end of each flight of steps, at each floor level, a stranger's voice in the dark ahead of her would call out the number of the floor, such as "20th floor, 19th floor, 18th floor." Since she was so injured, and there was no light, the one voice calling out gave her the courage she needed to continue, even though she was in severe pain.* Good manners come from care and concern for others. In this tragedy, those with maturity showed the most concern for the safety of others, even though they were strangers.

Prayer of Thanks by Tobey, from

Maturity comes through several stages. First, there is the infant stage of self-absorption, then the adolescent stage of self-serving, and, finally, the adult stage of self-sacrifice. Many people who want to be "grown up" are still in the infant, or adolescent, stage of maturity. When a person is mature enough to show honor and respect to authority and those to whom it is due, they have reached the adult stage of life. Many adult children are still bullying their way in life.

When adolescent or grown children send out insults and harsh words to their parents, it is a sign of immaturity and rudeness. Imagine creating the same uproar and insults to the face of an employer. How long do you think you would last in the workplace?

In many homes when children become adults, they may create unpleasant scenes. I listened to one teen-aged girl brag about how she deliberately staged a verbal fight with her parents in order to "prove a point" and get her own way, or find an excuse to walk out, slamming the door behind her. This same girl prided herself on avoiding her brother and staying away from family gatherings if he was there.

Family Picnic by Laforet, from

People can excuse whining, complaining, accusing, and anger as just a "stage" or a change of life, but these are symptoms of bad manners. Rather than being a sign of growing up, rudeness is a sign of immaturity. One mother of a boy in his early 20s became bewildered when he began to contradict and critcize her severely. She consulted a friend, and her friend said, "Oh, that's a sign that he's growing up and breaking free." If this were true, and if it were acceptable, then parents should also be able to do it and get away with it.

Rudeness is never right, no matter how young or old you are. Rudeness is not just a symptom of the teen years; it can be a problem with twenty-agers, thirty-agers, forty-agers, and fifty-agers. It is a root problem of selfishness that has to be overcome before maturity can develop.

The Journey Home by John Yeen King, from

With the popularity of homeschooling, there has been an interest in teaching good manners. Homeschooled adults are often admired because of their good conduct in public and their honoring ways toward their parents. As the society around them gets cruder and ruder, people will try to break down the manners of these polite children. These spoilers will try to make your well-bred children forget their good manners, especially the good manners toward their parents and the respect toward their home. I will show you some examples of the things that may be spoken to you, that will aid in this break-down if you do not remain alert and on your guard.

What others will tell your teens. There is a mindset in the public that young adults should break away from their parents. These remarks are intended to break down your values of honoring parents.

  1. "You are are 22 and still living at home? You should get an apartment." Why do you want to give $600 to $1,000 a month in rent to a stranger, when you could stay at home and pay your parents back for some of the things they've done for you? Even at the lowest end of the income scale, $960,000 dollars can be spent raising a child to the age of 18. Staying home and helping your parents with the repairs and expense of their home is the least you can do. Getting out on your own in an apartment can lead to financial stress and loneliness. I've known parents who have only charged their adult children $25.00 a week for rent, invested it, and then returned it with interest on their wedding day. Learn to get along at home and to honor your parents, and things will go well for you. Living at home has enabled young adults to save money for their own homes. This is next to impossible if you paying rent to someone else.

  2. "You don't have to listen to your parents anymore." This is a total falsehood. Many of us in our 50s are still listening to our parents, and many whose parents have passed on are still "listening" to their wise words that echo in their memory. This is all part of showing honor to them for the time they invested in us.

  3. "Who cares what time you get in at night? You are free now, and you don't even have to go home at all if you don't want to." Sometimes even homeschooled children will stay out all night, at the urging of their friends. This is very rude. What would you think if your mother, your employer, or a teacher did the same thing and could not be relied on to show up where they belonged for days and nights on end? What would you think of a mate who didn't come home at night? The habits you have now are preparing you for marriage. Being home at night is essential in developing a good marriage relationship.

  4. "What your parents taught you is out-dated." This is not true. Parents who truly love their children will pass on to them the manners and beliefs of their forefathers. Honor and respect are never out-dated.

  5. "Your parents have a lot of faults. Why not admit it?" It is bad manners to gossip about your parents' faults or to dig into their past sins, and it is dishonoring to spread it around to your friends. Instead of telling others about the flaws of your parents, focus on their strengths and what they have done for you, and spread that around.

  6. "Just tell your parents off." It is not good manners to "vent" or tell off your parents. It may "help" you feel better at the moment, but it always causes more problems, as you will say things that you will later regret and have to apologize for.

The fruit of bad manners is broken family relationships, which can create pain and problems for years to come. The fruit of good manners is building up relationships and bonding with those whom God put into your life.

Sisters on the Shore, by Anthony Watkins, from

Parents dream of having a happy home life and successful children, who will one day marry and raise children of their own. Parents who seem like they are "holding their children back" may simply be waiting for some improvement in their manners and their maturity before recommending them to society. If you are a young adult and you feel you want to do something, such as go somewhere, or get out on your own, I have a word of advice for you: do so graciously. A child who asks for the blessings of his parents is going to be able to leave home without the turmoil and hurt feelings--someone who demands to have his own way, stages a family fight, and slams the door will not.

The adult child who says, "I'm thinking about going to another place to find work. What alternatives can you give me?" is going to get a lot further with his parents than a child who says "I'm sick of this place. I'm outta here!"

Mother's Prayer by Marcell, from

If you've got enough energy and brain power to argue and create turmoil for your parents, why not turn it into something positive and productive for yourself and your family? Here's what I suggest you do: Spend the same amount of time complimenting your parents, helping your parents, and benefiting your parents, as well as reinforcing your parents' marriage.

Are there things that need to be done that your parents never get around to doing? Do your parents ever receive a good "report card" from anyone, a prize, or an award, for work well done? Parents are the least appreciated people in the universe. Mothers who have dedicated their lives to the home are especially self-sacrificing. They have put their lives into developing their children into successful, well-mannered, mature adults. Have you, as a young person, ever tried to do this?

Imagine that it is they, and not a report card or an employer, that will give you the references you need, in order to get that big break in life. Are you earning credits or demerits at home?

This room reminds us of the care and thought that is put into creating a dwelling for the family. Are we putting as much care and thought into our daily manners and honor of others?

Grand Piano Room by Foxwell, from

Care and concern for others is the main reason for good manners. A respectful and honoring attitude towards parents and siblings is a sign of maturity. Sometimes grouchy, irritated parents can be made softer and sweeter by respectful, honoring children. Grown children will find that once they develop tenderhearted and merciful attitudes, the core of good manners, many things will go well for them in other areas of life. One good way to practice this is to learn the art of deference. "Deference" means to defer, or give way, to those who require our cooperation and submission in order to reach a common goal. Sometimes, in the name of "independence," a younger person may want to put forth, almost forcibly, his own will. We are created to be inter-dependent, which means to work together in harmony with the members of the family God has put into our lives.

Going Home by Consuelo Gamboa, from

Young adults can come closer to maturity by keeping their goals and the goals of their parents in mind when contemplating the kind of family life they would like to have. Often, teens and twenty-somethings will hope for a family of their own where everyone lives in harmony, while rudely causing most of the disruptions in their own family. It is a serious thing when a teen or young adult creates strife in his own family. These bad manners, when practiced, can influence his own children and create misery in his own future family, if they are not replaced with an honoring spirit. May all who come to read this be sobered into the realization that the breakdown of the family cannot be entirely blamed on the movies, the media, etc. but on the simple fact of dishonoring parents.

While you are at home, do your best to be an asset to your family and not a liability. Create peace, instead of stress. Be a good steward of your living space, and that of your parents. Help them manage their home and their property. One day, you may be called upon to help with your parents' financial affairs. If you can prove your worth now, by being helpful, respectful, and honorable, you will be trusted in a greater capacity later. Get your life in order, improve your character, and increase your learning.

The more you revere and respect your parents, your siblings, and your dwelling, the more likely it is that you will have a successful family life of your own one day.

Proverbs 11:29 ~ "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart."

* Read more 911 stories at this link.

For further research, see the following:

Respect is a Christian Value

Honoring My Parents

Having No Regrets

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