That’s RUDE!

By MaryAnn

“If your mother didn’t tell you, then I will: that’s RUDE!” screamed the little boy as the boy next door grabbed the shovel out of his hands.

This scene remains one of my most vivid lessons about manners. We were burying a squirrel in the woods near our house, and all the neighbor kids were there, supervised by my mother.

Fast forward to my former life as a traveling executive. I went to many conferences across the state, most of which included bad hotel meals paired with boring after-dinner speakers. The best one had nothing to do with the food, and everything to do with the keynote speaker, a retired public school superintendent. He spoke eloquently  about the importance of manners. In fact, he said, “having good manners will get you further than a good education or lots of money.”

And so, throughout the rest of my working life, I have found that to be mostly true. It even works better than the old adage, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Even now, in my work at the library, we get questions about manners: books for children, books on etiquette, books on how to handle different situations…all of which just goes to show that manners are still important.

If you still need training, or just a refresher course, here are a few of my favorites:

It’s a spoon, not a shovel! As you can tell by the title, this is a humorous picture book for preschoolers, and also for adults who like picture books.

Suppose you meet a dinosaur : a first book of manners Perhaps a companion book for the picture book listed above!

Children’s tea and etiquette: brewing good manners in young minds A more specific look at manners, in which two children attend a tea party and learn about the history of tea, as well as how to introduce themselves, pick up their napkins, eat a scone, and drink tea from a proper cup.

Being dead is no excuse OK–it’s not exactly a book about manners, but it does have a great title, some wonderful recipes, and proper Southern funeral etiquette!

Miss Manners’ guide to domestic tranquility: the authoritative manual for every civilized household, however harried The title says it all!

And there are plenty more for any situation in which you might find yourself:

The new etiquette : real manners for real people in real situations

Wedding etiquette for divorced families

How to be a perfect stranger : a guide to etiquette in other people’s religious ceremonies

As my mother used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” So mind your manners!