"I seek constantly to improve my manners and graces, for they are the sugar to which all are attracted"
Not much bugs me. I'm generally quite laid back and if ever I rant or rave it's normally deep within the recesses of my mind, keeping friends and family safely sheltered from the madness within. However there is ONE thing, and yes, only ONE, that gets my goat. Bad manners. Be it a bad mannered ankle biter or a bad mannered adult, the hairs on the back of my neck stand upright and I can actually feel my BP rising.
Don't get me wrong. Toddlers are still learning the 'hello', 'goodbye', 'please', 'thank you' and 'excuse me', so I'm more than happy to overlook it. But when I find myself reminding a tween, teen, 20-something and EVEN a 30-something to say 'hello' or 'excuse me' or 'goodbye' the irritation shows. ALOT!
Adults who are either indifferent to or incapable of stringing these very easy phrases together befuddle me. I can only put it down to two things - either the concept is too abstract for them, leading me to the conclusion that they're a little dumb OR they have been raised rather badly. What I find even more peculiar is that it's the very same people who will tell everyone at the top of their voices about their wonderful upbringing. More like bringing-up I would argue...
As far as manners go, I'm a 'helicopter' parent. From little Emma was asked to say 'please' and 'thank you'. And she gets it right a lot of the time, though there are moments when I have to remind her gently. Her manners extend beyond people ten, twenty times her age. Like when I say 'thank you' to her, she responds with the most polite 'you're welcome mommy!' and when I sneeze there is always a 'bless you' from her. If she wants get past she knows she has to say 'excuse me' and 'thank you' when the person (or dog) has moved. I've also realized Emma learns from example so Mark and I say 'thank you' when we get our supper and 'please' if we're offered a cup of tea. It's done wonders for our relationship, this manners thing.
Emma is cute and she is clever (for her age) but I tell her, ad nausea, that brains and cuteness will get her far BUT respect, kindness and good manners will get her a lot further. As much as we need to provide our children with the essentials like food, love, security and education, we're doing them a huge disservice if we don't teach them the very real value of good manners.
Fred Astaire, while tap-dancing through life, once said "The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." It can't be a of 'do as I say, not as I do' anymore if we want our children to grow up being respectful, well mannered and kind. It has to be 'do as I do'.